Google being worth billions of dollars and controlling shocking amounts of information about us isn’t all bad, sometimes. Like for example, the fact that they’ve posted a 3D, fully functional Rubik’s Cube on the main page to amuse ourselves with instead of doing our jobs.
Today is the thirtieth anniversary of the invention of the Rubik’s Cube, although it didn’t come to the West until 1980. It was actually invented not as a puzzle but rather to solve a structural engineering problem. Ernő Rubik was trying to figure out how to make a cube where the layers could freely rotate in four directions without the whole cube falling apart. In fact, he didn’t realize he’d made a puzzle until he found himself frustrated with his own cube trying to get all the parts back to their original position.
It was introduced to the West in 1980 and a craze was born. In fact, “cubers” persist to this day, working on new ways to solve the cube in the fewest possible number of moves. In fact, there are a few cubers at Google, considering that a few years ago they spent enough money to find out you can solve the puzzle in twenty moves.
So, have fun. Just try not to have so much fun you manage to cost the world $120 million in productivity, like Google’s Pac-Man doodle did back in 2010.