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Google Grabs Headlines with Pac-Man, Google TV

May 28, 2010 (CAP News Wire) – Never underestimate the power of Google. Slightly tweaking its front page last week to add a real-time Pac-Man game to its home page to celebrate the 30th anniversary of that legendary classic arcade game is still creating headlines a week later.

Some of the stories about the Pac-Man crossover were good, and some were negative. But even the negative stories still managed to paint Google in an impressive light: The game “took up nearly 5 million hours of work time,” states GadgetRepublic. What other website could have caused so much downtime in just on single day? (Could Facebook?)

“On a typical day, most people conduct about 22 searches on the Google page, each one lasting about 11 seconds, statistics suggest,” the GadgetRepublic article continued. “Pac-Man on the page boosted that time by an average of around 36 seconds.”

“It cost the [U.S.] economy roughly $120.5 million,” writes Rich Smith at the Motley Fool.

And then there’s the even more talked-about announcement of Google TV, where Google is recruiting a lineup of leading tech companies to develop a new service that brings the Internet to TV screens everywhere.

“Google TV … lets people visit any Web site from their televisions and easily search for programs and Web video without scrolling through unwieldy on-screen TV directories,” writes Peter DaSilva for The New York Times.

Google TV seems designed to put it at the forefront of techies’ wishlists: The service will be built into high-def TVs and Blu-ray players made by Sony. It’s to be powered by Google’s smartphone Android software.

Though not without consumer challenges, the new service is certainly generating a lot of headlines — even rivaling the kind of buzz Apple regularly achieves with its many new devices.

“If Google’s effort is successful, it could create problems for traditional cable companies, as more people could look to the wealth of content on the Internet and bypass their cable provider’s profitable video-on-demand offerings,” the New York Times article continued.

It’s expected that Google TV will be a boost to the online marketing world, too. “ … companies and brands in paid-click and display ads will have exposure on the TV, as they do on the Web,” writes Laurie Sullivan at Online Media Daily. “Google TV brings the search browser to the television. Consumers searching the Web on Google TV will see the same ads that are visible on their PC.”

(On a side note, the Sydney Morning Herald has an interesting angle: Google TV may turn off casual TV watchers because it’ll likely mean they can’t skip commercials anymore.)

With these two stories, Google has shown a remarkable ability to draw headlines away from other, less favorable stories its involved in (such as the regulatory debates in the EU) and also steal the thunder from competitors like Yahoo and Facebook, both of which also had big stories this week.

But Google’s always been able to do this. Like it or not, this company still sits on top of the Internet marketing heap, and even if its actions were ordinary, it’d still probably draw headlines. Throw in the fact that the news it generates is genuinely interesting, and it’s easy to understand why the online media is obsessed with all things Google.