Google killed about 5 million hours of time with a playable logo on their home page yesterday, equating to around $120 million dollars worth of revenue for employers, according to productivity tracking and management company RescueTime.

Google converted their logo into a playable arcade homage to the classic coin-op, incorporating their logo into the maze from the original. It was done to honor the 30th anniversary of the game. It has proved so popular that they’ve given it a permanent home. Why?

The Google guys are a bunch of geeks to be sure and the moment I saw this online I went to play the game. But they’re also very smart. They more than tripled the amount of time people spent on their site but undoubtedly shifted attention away from the search results and all important money generating ads that are their lifeblood.

Was this an exercise in building brand love or a poorly thought out gimmick that didn’t have any agenda other than expressing a love for pop culture? What about a third option: what sort of increase in traffic do you think the RescueTime site has had? Given that they’ve just lost their CEO maybe it was the right time to get a little extra buzz going.
If it is a campaign to raise the profile, our hats go off to them: It’s a phenomenally well done job, and perhaps the very first ad that ever appeared on the Google home page. Check out the web traffic according to compete. I’m betting that over the last 48 hours it’s got a lot larger. I’d love to know those figures.