Google’s guitar doodle cost £166m in lost productivity

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The Google guitar doodle marking Les Paul’s birthday last week cost the world £166million in lost productivity. The late guitar pioneer was celebrated on what would have been his 96th birthday with his own playable doodle. Anyone logging onto the Google homepage on June 9 and 10 would have seen the authentic-sounding doodle above the search box and could have strummed away using either their mouse or keyboard. The company spent just £9,300 on the design but, according to analysts, this small investment ended up costing a staggering £166million as office workers took time off to play the interactive ‘guitar’. Workers spent a total of 10.7million hours distracted by the doodle. During the two days that the Les Paul doodle was online, 740million visitors, according to analytics from RescueTime, spent 26 seconds more on the Google homepage than normal.
740 million times 26 seconds is 5,344,444 hours – and over two days, that’s a total of almost 10.7million man hours spent playing with the Les Paul Google Doodle. Assuming the average Google user earns $25/hour, the Doodle cost companies around the world $268million (£166million) in lost productivity. Users in the U.S. could even click the black ‘compose’ button to record their own 30-second tracks. Clicking the button again would display a link to share the songs. The complex interactive doodle was created using a combination of JavaScript, HTML5 Canvas to draw the guitar strings, CSS, Flash for the sound as well as tools like the Google Font API, goo.gl and App Engine. Les Paul was one of the great musical pioneers of the 20th century. Not only did he build one of the first playable electric guitars but he also invented multi-track recording – the process of layering multiple takes on top of each other – something that completely revolutionized the recording industry.