Microsoft just launched Office 2010 to great fanfare, and quietly slipped in a new free online version. It looks like they may have finally realized that if they don’t cannibalize their core business with a web based offering, Google will. Has the sleeping giant over in Redmond finally awoken, and can they defend their biggest cash cow from the future?
Some analysts say Google’s online offering can’t compete with Microsoft’s. They have no idea.
We’ve been tracking the usage habits of hundreds of thousands of our users over the last two years, and you can clearly see that Google has managed to increase their daily reach from around 59% to 79%. On the other hand, Microsoft Office has been steadily shedding users, losing about 9% of our population.
To get an idea of how relatively important each application in these suites are, here is a graph showing the full gamut.
Communication makes up about 18% of all computer usage. Google proved you could do email in the cloud not only competitively, but for free. Outlook and Gmail dominate these two companies’ suites in terms of unique daily users. Gmail managed to increase their slice of the pie about 3%, while Outlook lost about 6% of the total. That’s a 21% relative decline for Microsoft vs 7% relative growth for Google in arguably the single most important software sector. Microsoft loses its integration advantage when people stop using big pieces of the suite, which may help explain the synergistic decline of Outlook and Excel. It’s also interesting to note that Word and PowerPoint have been relegated to a tiny fraction of our users who seem to greatly prefer Google Docs.
If that was the whole story, things might look pretty grim for Redmond, and it’s no wonder they’re being forced to respond to web based offerings. However, there is at least one more way to consider the data, and that’s in terms of the amount of time spent in particular applications, not just the number of people using them.
It’s clear again that email is the most important component in both companies portfolios, but even though Gmail has about double the users, the smaller population of Outlook users spend more time emailing than all the Gmail users put together. Today, Outlook is the preferred weapon of choice for heavy users, but if I were an exec at Microsoft, I’d be paying very close attention to the direction those blue and red lines move from here on out. You might also notice that in terms of spreadsheet usage, there is really only 1 option.
About the data:
RescueTime provides a time management tool to allow individuals and businesses to track their time and attention to see where their days go (and to help them get more productive!). We have hundreds of millions of man hours of second-by-second attention data from hundreds of thousands of users around the world, tracking in real time both inside and outside the browser. We selected annual date boundaries for this set, to help reveal seasonal variations in usage, like the holiday dip in productivity.
About our software:
If you want to see how productive you are vs the rest of our users, you should check out our product tour. We offer both individual and group plans (pricing starts at FREE).
When Google launched its Pac-Man logo on Friday, we immediately heard amused groans in our tweet-streams. “Well, so much for my morning,” said one. “Google’s Pac Man logo just ruined millions of dollars in productivity today, nationwide,” said another.
Here’s what we all saw on Friday:
Here are two of the tweets we saw in response:
Given our repository of hundreds of millions of man hours of second by second attention data, we figured there’s no one better than RescueTime to tell the world about the cost of Google Pac-Man on that fateful Friday. Here’s what we learned.
The first thing to understand is that Google does not result in a lot of active usage, in terms of time. Yes, we all use Google. But a Google search only requires a few seconds, and we’re all pretty well trained to click one of the first few links. Add to that the fact that many people use Google as a navigation tool (“Googling “IBM” instead of typing in “www.ibm.com”). Nonetheless, it might surprise you that our average Google user spends only 4 and a half active minutes on Google search per day, spread over about 22 page views. That’s roughly 11 seconds of attention invested in each Google page view. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but next time you do a search, count to 11- it’s a long time.
This weekend, we took a hard look at Pac-Man D-Day and compared it with previous Fridays (before and After Google’s recent redesign) and found some noticeable differences. We took a random subset of our users (about 11,000 people spending about 3 million seconds on Google that day) The average user spent 36 seconds MORE on Google.com on Friday.. Thankfully, Google tossed out the logo with pretty low “perceived affordance” – they put an “insert coin” button next to the search button, but I imagine most users missed that. In fact, I’d wager that 75% of the people who saw the logo had no idea that you could actually play it. Which the world should be thankful for.
If we take Wolfram Alpha at its word, Google had about 504,703,000 unique visitors on May 23. If we assume that our userbase is representative, that means:
- Google Pac-Man consumed 4,819,352 hours of time (beyond the 33.6m daily man hours of attention that Google Search gets in a given day)
- $120,483,800 is the dollar tally, If the average Google user has a COST of $25/hr (note that cost is 1.3 – 2.0 X pay rate).
- For that same cost, you could hire all 19,835 google employees, from Larry and Sergey down to their janitors, and get 6 weeks of their time. Imagine what you could build with that army of man power.
- $298,803,988 is the dollar tally if all of the Pac-Man players had an approximate cost of the average Google employee.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our Pac-Man data journey as much as we have. Next up in our on our data-hacking list, we’ll be digging in to find the laziest and most productive countries and cities in the world. Where do you think yours ranks?
About the data:
RescueTime provides a time management tool to allow individuals and businesses to track their time and attention to see where their days go (and to help them get more productive!). We have hundreds of millions of man hours of second-by-second attention data from hundreds of thousands of users around the world, tracking both inside and outside the browser. The data for this report was compiled from 11,000 randomly selected Google users.
About our software:
If you want to see how productive you are vs the rest of our users, you should check out our service. We offer both individual and group plans (pricing starts at FREE).
Since we’re a gang of egotistical guys hanging around all day, we’ve always assumed we’re the crème de la crème here at RescueTime. Turns out, we were right. Our team is regularly in the 90th percentile or higher for weekly productivity. We figure it’s because we’re productivity guys, it’s what we do. To get some answers with a little more data, and little less ego, I’ve started digging through the hundreds of millions of man hours in our database. From what I can tell, the 23rd chromosome has a pretty amazing impact on the way people use computers. Full disclosure: I happen to be a man.
The 4,000 women sampled managed to rack up an astounding 87,585 hours on social networking sites, which accounts for about 6.4% of their time. Their male counterparts, on the other hand, spend 39% less time drinking from the fire hydrant of virtual friendship. It’s not that men are less interested in being social either. In fact, in our population, more men use social networks than women (72% of men vs 69% of women). When it comes to shopping online, women spend 63% more of their time picking out their goodies than men do. Men have their distractions, too. They spend about 15% more of their time reading the news than women.
These switches can be anything from one email to the next, or to something completely… OMG, hold on a sec, Tony just posted new pics of his recent getaway… Oh, sorry, back to work.
The average guy spends pretty close to 50% of his computer time doing things he considers distracting. No wonder our information economy is being eaten piecemeal by developing countries where people still have a work ethic. Wait, what? You thought I said men work harder, but they spend half their time distracted? That’s right, women only manage to be productive with about 43% of their time.
Evidently, there’s a reason they are called “man” hours. On average, male information workers spend 14% more time per day working on their computers than women do.
About the data:
RescueTime provides a tool to allow individuals and businesses to track their time and attention to see where their days go (and to help them get more productive!). We have hundreds of millions of man hours of second-by-second attention data from hundreds of thousands of users around the world, tracking both inside and outside the browser. The data for this report was compiled from 8,000 randomly selected men and women.
About our software:
If you want to see how productive you are vs the rest of our users, you should check out our tools. Better yet, get your entire team signed up and put the rest of those slackers to shame. It’s not really that hard. Our data shows that your coworkers are probably taking it even easier than you are, since you at least made it over here to our blog.
I’m building some new screenshots today of the new-and-improved RescueTime UI and did a double-take when I was taking a screenshot… On a lark, I decided to tag all Google sites as “Google” so that I could see just how much Google dominated my online life.
(For non-RescueTimers, RescueTime essentially allows me to track all of my computer behavior to see exactly how I spend my time. I can then categorize each app and site with tags)
So, for me, here’s a rough breakdown of how I tag Google stuff (we just launched the ability to differentiate between various Google services… did you know that?):
Gmail: work, google, comm
Reader: personal, news, google
Analytics: work, marketing, google
Search: google, research
Calendar: work, google
By tagging each of these things as “google”, it allows me to gauge just how much Google has taken over my life (at least the part that involves sitting in front of a computer).
Below is the graph of my total time since I started using RescueTime. Note that this is COMPUTER time– not browser time:
If you’d like a little more granularity, here is how much Google consumed my day in January of 08:
Pretty damn amazing.