There's no question it's happening: All over the place today, you can be sure that people are heading on over to Google's home page and discovering that instead of the normal multicolored Google logo, there's a fully playable version of Pac-Man sitting there, beckoning them.
This, of course, is to commemorate tomorrow's 30th anniversary of Pac-Man. And no doubt, a lot of people are having a lot of fun with this. Google is so sure of that that it is planning on keeping the Pac-Man logo--known in company terms as a "doodle"--on the home page for 48 hours, rather than taking it down at the end of the day as it usually does with its special logos.
But one wonders just how disruptive the iconic sounds of Pac-Man are going to be in offices all across the country and the world. After all, it takes just microseconds to recognize the tune. More to the point, how much productivity is being lost today as people sit at their computers, mesmerized by the game when all they really wanted to do was a Google search?
Indeed, is this mass Pac-Man playing going to contravene corporate policy?
Consider this e-mail, which I received a few minutes ago from Emir Shabashvili, a network manager in the Miami-Dade County (Florida) department of property appraisal:
I am [a] computer manager here at Miami-Dade County. Today I [started] receiving calls from users. They were concerned with [the] unusual behavior of [the] Google home page--many of them have Google as [their] home page, along with the County page. [We're used] to Google celebrating this and that and placing some pictures on the home page, but today it was the annoying sound of [Pac-Man]. Recreational games are banned by county regulations, so I had no choice but [to] delete Google as one of [the] home page tabs on users' PCs. I wonder how many Google home pages disappeared today all over the globe?
Shabashvili raises a good point. Then again, I wonder how many of the thousands of people in his shoes in companies everywhere are too busy playing Pac-Man today to get to the task of banning the Google home page for violating corporate policy?
If the Google Pac-Man logo has produced any issues in your company--either a situation like the one described above, or maybe where everyone is gathered around the CEO's desk playing non-stop, or anything in-between--please post your experience in comments.