Google’s Lunchtime Betting Game from the New York Times describes a game Google employees are encouraged to play during their lunch break. The game is betting fake money, Goobles, on predictive markets.
A predictive market is an exchange that predicts events based on the amount of money wagered on a specific outcome. Google uses Goobles, fake money, to let employees bet on certain outcomes. Why does Google encourage such activity from their employees? Google believes it generated creative ideas from their employees. It also helps stimulate an “optimism bias,” which in turn encourages Google employees to work harder to achieve a certain outcome they have predicted in the predictive market. Finally, this game helps the company executives gauge ideas that may come from a lower person on the Google food channel.
The Goobles, currency in this game, can be exchanged for prizes of up to $10,000 per quarter. Some Googlers have even built programs to help automate some of their bidding. Yes, they built trading robots to be smarter about where they spend their Goobles.