Rubik's Cube turns 40, Google celebrates by wasting your day


More than 4.82 million hours of productivity were lost on May 21, 2010 — according to one estimate — when Google celebrated the 30th anniversary of PAC-MAN with an interactive doodle that invited users play the classic arcade game. Four years later, the tech giant seems set on topping that record with Monday's doodle commemorating the 40th anniversary of Rubik's Cube, the colorful 3-D animation puzzle that's been confounding mere humans since its introduction in 1974. 

Innocent Internet users turning to the Google search engine to confirm whether Kendall Jenner botched her boy-band intro on Billboard Music Awards or what's the latest in international cyber-espionage will fall prey to the Rubik's Cube animation, a siren's call beckoning them to forget about their silly searches and throw the day away. 

If that's not enough of a time suck, Google users are invited to check out the Chrome Cube Lab where they can play with various Rubik's Cube mods or create their own. There, Professor Ernő Rubik, inventor of the Rubik's Cube, invites users to rediscover his hypnotic puzzle via the Internet. “The Cube was born in 1974 as a teaching tool to help me and my students better understand space and 3D," he writes. "I can’t wait to see people learn about three-dimensional objects through their browsers and to test the limits of what is possible when the Cube gets re-jigged using cutting edge web technologies. Cube on!”

Or, if you need some inspiration to get off the Google doodle and get on with your day, here's Mats Valk, the 18-year-old Rubik's Cube speed champion, solving the puzzle in 5.55 seconds. 

Or, you can just go to the Goodle doodle repository and attempt to beat the record for productivity lost on the PAC-MAN Google doodle. 

Helen A.S. Popkin is Deputy Tech & Science editor for TODAY/NBC News. You can find her on Facebook andTwitter