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All Work, No Play?

Google engineers spend some of their workweek doing anything but work. Could you profit from letting your employees do the same?

This story appears in the April 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Where does Google come up with all its cool new services and tools? It has grown from a simple internet search company to one that offers e-mail, maps, news distribution and a communication service-not to mention improved and specialized searches. Do its engineers fool around all day? Well, kind of-and maybe your employees should, too.

Google encourages its engineers to spend one day a week, or 20 percent of their time, on projects that are unrelated to work. Called "20 percent time," the concept has been quite lucrative for Google, helping the company dramatically expand its offerings, some of which have become cash cows.

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