Getting Paid to Play

Companies are using video games in team-building exercises for their staff

6 October 2009

Companies are using video games in team-building exercises for their staff. At Grinnell Computers, in Beaumont, Texas, for example, employees are encouraged to spend about two hours a week at work playing an online game against each other in which players shoot at each other. The company’s founder says it’s a good way for employees to relieve stress and bond with their colleagues and managers.

Do you think playing video games with your co-workers is good for team-building and relieving stress?


Responses to July’s Question

Search Engine Overload?

Microsoft has launched a search engine, called Bing, that it hopes will attract a large portion of the 63 percent of Web searchers who now use Google, the world’s most popular search engine. If Bing can deliver more relevant results than Google or Yahoo, the other major search engine, then people will eventually switch over, Microsoft reasons. Bing has received positive reviews for its search capabilities and its design and helpful features. But critics say that doesn’t matter; Google’s information is already more than adequate for most people, who are likely to have a difficult time telling the difference between a great search engine and a better one.

Do you think Bing has a shot at stealing many users from Google? Would you switch?


A Matter of Trust

The issues at play go far beyond merely asking, “Which is the better search engine?” or “Is my current search engine adequate?” Much deeper and more important is the issue of trust. I simply trust Microsoft less than Google. This might also be characterized by the question, “Whose world would I rather live in, Google’s or Microsoft’s?” When the trust differential becomes less than the search-capability differential, and falls in Microsoft’s favor, I’ll consider giving Bing a try. Until then, why waste my time?

Mike Rudnick
Pittsford, N.Y.


Could You Rephrase That?

I tried Bing when it first appeared and liked it less than Google. But I do not like either of them, because their “exact phrase” search is not an exact phrase at all, but rather an “associative phrase” search.

Where I work we use legacy hardware made by Data General Corp. A search on Google for the exact phrase “data general” finds that the string “data, general” is considered an exact match. The strings “data general” and “data, general” are not exact matches. If the makers of Bing want my business, they should come up with an exact-phrase search that does just that. If they want to list associative search results as well, that’s fine. But the exact phrase ought to come first.

Sorry about the rant, but trying to find useful data from an undesirable associative search is a chore.

Crockett Ellis Jr.


Survival of the Fittest

I have not used and do not know much about Bing. But it would seem that if Bing turns out to be much better than Google, naturally people will switch to Bing. It’s similar to when Google came out. Until then, Yahoo! was the favorite search engine. But when Google demonstrated better performance, people started to switch.

Surender K. Gupta
Torrance, Calif.


Antitrust or Anti-Microsoft?

I agree with the critics saying Microsoft won’t be successful at getting users to switch from Google. At least, not without some of the conniving for which Microsoft is famous.

I wouldn’t switch until it is both a very cold day in a place usually said to be very warm and all other decent search engines on the planet have ceased operation. I have seen enough of Microsoft’s violation of U.S. antitrust law and the unwritten laws of fair play to be able to trust anything from that company.

Robert Riches
Dundee, Ore.


No Bing, No Bang

Competition is always good, but Microsoft has a track record of tying its Web sites to its browsers. For example, the offerings on the Microsoft Web site for online Office basically work only with Internet Explorer. In the past that might have been to Microsoft’s advantage. But as people increasingly switch to mobile browsing and netbooks using thin operating systems, people will have problems using the Microsoft search engine.

Google has become part of the vernacular in much the same way as Windows. I can’t see that changing unless Google drops the ball.

Sean Donovan
Campbelltown, Australia


Not Buying It

Bing doesn’t have a shot at stealing many users from Google. Microsoft has a negative reputation among many people. Whereas many are unfortunately unaware of options other than Microsoft’s Windows or Office, people are aware of alternatives to Bing like Google and Yahoo!, and might not be willing to switch to something new. And many people will be unwilling to switch because of their negative experience with other Microsoft products.

I have no intention of ever using Bing, because of Microsoft’s poor reputation and my extreme dissatisfaction with their products—and I haven’t ever used Office 2007 or Windows Vista.

Mark D. Anderson

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