Apple may have just overtaken Microsoft as the biggest U.S. technology company but Google is already positioning itself as the iPad maker's next competitor. Case in point, Google has issued a report on its impact on the U.S. economy in 2009, showing that the company has generated $54 billion worth of business activity across the country.
High Worth Contributor To U.S. Economy
On an official post, Google announced that it "generated a total of $54 billion of economic activity for American businesses, website publishers and non-profits" in 2009.
The search and advertising tools that generated the business leads are mainly AdWords, AdSense and Google Grants, the site said, valueing AdWords at $2 for every $1 spent.
Here's a video of Hal Varian, the company's Chief Economist, who explains where the numbers come from:
The figures were presented by Claire Hughes Johnson, Vice President, Global Online Sales, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Time Is Money, PacMan Eats Time But Marketing Coup Succeeds
At the other end of the spectrum, Google can also be quite 'efficient' at making businesses lose money, I have to say.
Take a look at the dedicated, playable doodle it put up to mark the 30th anniversary of PacMan, as we reported.
It may look all fun and fabulous and easy but the truth is that the economic impact of that doodle is costly - to say the least.
According to Tony Wright, analyst at Rescue Time, an automated time-tracking and management company, the game ate up practically 5 million hours (4.8 to be precise) or 549 years of employee time globally. This translates into an astronomical cost of $120 million in lost productivity, based on the assumption that average pay per hour is $25.
Mr Wright estimates that there were 505 million unique users on May 21st when the game went live on Google's homepage.
"For that same cost, you could hire all 19,385 Google employees," wrote Mr Wright in a blog post. "That includes (co-founders) Larry (Page) and Sergey (Brin), right down to the janitors. You could hire them for six weeks - imagine what you could build with that army of manpower."
Google's PacMan may well have been a disaster for the economy but hey, it made loads of us happy. For those of you who have missed the opportunity to play (and waste time at work), the application is now permanently available.
A New Doodle
Just to wrap it all up with a smile, let's take you to another doodle story. It's today's. After PacMan's success last week, there's another win: that of third-grader Makenzie Melton who will see her "Rainforest Habitat" colored-pencil drawing become Google's doodle.
Miss Makenzie won the 2010 'Doodle 4 Google' contest over more than 33 000 students who had submitted from across the U.S.
Her creation expressed her concern that "the rainforest is in danger and it is not fair to the plants and animals," Google said. Aside from having her doodle on Google's homepage for millions of people to see today, she has "received a $15,000 college scholarship, a netbook computer and a $25,000 technology grant for a new computer lab at her school."
We won't publish it here so, please go see her doodle today on the Google.com homepage and tell us how you like it!
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!