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Did Google Go A Doodle Too Far With Pac-Man Game?

Google may have crossed a thin line last week by putting Pac-Man on its front page, its most prized asset, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the legendary game.

This may well be the beginning of a new kind of marketing with Google replacing its logo with specially crafted adverts to evangelise a product or in Pac-man's case, a game.

Doing so however may dilute Google's branding something they might not be too keen to make. But then, if a company like Nintendo came with $10 million for one day on Google's front page, that might be a very powerful argument.

That's cheap compared to the likes of Superbowl and given how powerful the Google brand is worldwide.

For one thing is sure, productivity worldwide failed after Google swapped its logo for the Pac-man game. According to some estimates, on that day, users spent on average 36 seconds extra per session.

That amounts to more than $120 million worth of productivity being lost to Pac-Man chasing (or being chased) by pixellated ghosts. Early figures also showed a staggering rise in the number of searches related to Pac-man, something that money can't buy for now.

This could well mean that Google may even put on its front page one day to celebrate the anniversary of the game that gave us Mario. Would front page advertising for Google work out well for the search engine?

Certainly for Google and even for its users. After all, who hasn't enjoyed playing Pac-Man over the last few days?

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.