You probably have heard about one of Google’s very cool corporate policies – the fact that Google’s engineers are encouraged to spend 20% of their work time on projects of their choice, regardless of their immediate financial returns or fit with Google’s company strategy.
It looks like that this 20% policy has spawned a tool you’d definitely not expect from the search engine Google – a weight loss monitoring program.
The tool, called “Google 15″ because new Google employees are said to gain 15 pounds due to the great free catering available in the Googleplex, is a simple tool that calculates a moving average of your daily weigh-ins. The idea behind it is that weight loss doesn’t tend to be consistent or linear, and dieters tend to get demotivated when they see their weight moving down, then up again when they are on a diet.
The Google 15 tool allows users to chart their weight’s moving average against their goal weight, and encourages people to continue weighing themselves daily instead of giving up if they see their weight going up on one day. I recall reading somewhere that the act of weighing is in itself a very good predictor of weight control, so stepping on the scales daily should definitely be encouraged!
The Google 15 was written using one of Google’s public APIs, so it’s easy for anyone to install and use. Check out the Google 15 page for information on how to install the Google 15 and for a nice set of FAQs spanning the technical and medical aspects. As the module’s author, Fitz, points out, please consult your medical practitioner for advice on a suitable weight loss program for you. And don’t be too hard on yourself when you step on those scales today – it is the day after Thanksgiving, after all!