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As Christmas Bonus, Google Hands Out "Dogfood"

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the meaty-bits-with-gravy dept.

Google 366

theodp writes "You know times are tough when the best place to work in America replaces holiday bonuses with a request for unpaid labor. Blaming the economic crisis, Google management has canceled the traditional cash holiday bonus — reportedly as much as $20K-$30K per Googler — and substituted an unlocked Google Android cell phone, retail price $400. An accompanying email calls for employees to celebrate the 'chance for us to once again dogfood a product and make it even better!'" Update: 12/23 01:09 GMT by KD : A reader pointed out that comments to the article note a couple of inaccuracies: the Android phone being offered is an unlocked dev model, which goes for $400; and the reporter may have confused holiday bonuses with performance bonuses. The former have traditionally been in the range of $1,000, according to two comments.

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366 comments

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207123)

wohoo...

Just as I said earlier (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207127)

Google is the next microsoft.

Re:Just as I said earlier (3, Insightful)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207289)

How the hell is this interesting? Because the economy is catching up to Google? Last year or the year before, everyone clamored because they were charging more for day care services. That they did not have to give any way. Are you referring to the dog food comment? That's just, or should be, common practice. You don't wanna see someone that writes a piece of software and use a competing product.

This just in.. (5, Funny)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207137)

Laws of economics apply to Google, despite last 7 years of them denying tech bubble had already burst.

Re:This just in.. (2, Funny)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207251)

Yeah, stop complaining, I'd work at google for an android phone :D

Google are you watching? It must sure be better, more fun and interesting than sitting here :D

Re:This just in.. (5, Interesting)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207515)

I totally agree!

You naysayers and pessimists! How about instead looking around and seeing a company that still gives a Christmas bonus to it's employees - and congratulate them. A nice shiny new cellphone that you can do anything with is still a nice gift. Yes, it might not be as good as getting a few grand, but looking around at the financial state of the world at the moment, getting a phone might be a heck of a lot better than getting shit-canned as so many banking employees are looking at right now.

In other news, how many people mocking this gift today are actually getting something BETTER given to them as a Christmas bonus?

The company I currently work for combines a short term incentive plan/bonus into the package, and yes, the bonus can be easily around 15K per year - but this is part of the package when you sign up. Apart from that, other companies that I have worked for have given out the following:
1) A $7 fruit cake.
2) A nice christmas party with around $50 bartab for each person.
3) A cruise on the harbour with a very nice dinner payed for by the company.
4) Nothing.

Looking back on those, I wouldn't have minded getting a (by all accounts) pretty decent phone.

Re:This just in.. (5, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207565)

I don't think the interest of this story is that googlers have it so bad; rather, that the recession is touching everybody, even at the most high-flying companies. It's one of those formulaic "how is hot topic X affecting notable party Y" stories.

eBay? (4, Funny)

acb (2797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207139)

Wonder how many of these will end up on eBay.

Re:eBay? Nope. Google management forbids it! (5, Informative)

theodp (442580) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207199)

Information Week has an internal email [informationweek.com] sent by Google management:
Q: Can I resell my phone?
Googlers should not resell any item given to them by Google. Please review our Personal Transactions policy [removed].

Re:eBay? Nope. Google management forbids it! (5, Funny)

Al Dimond (792444) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207435)

Q: Can I post this internal email on the Internet?
A: Hell yes!

the term 'googlers' annoys the hell out of me (1, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207781)

its NOT cute and your employees are not children.

'googlers'. sigh. 'cute pet names' for employees went out the window years ago.

endearing names intended to make you feel special only make you look like some closed insider's club.

its silly and you know it.

Re:the term 'googlers' annoys the hell out of me (2, Funny)

happyslayer (750738) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207833)

its NOT cute and your employees are not children.

'googlers'. sigh.

That's why I call all my employees minions!

(My wife prefers the title "Mistress of Minions".)

Re:the term 'googlers' annoys the hell out of me (4, Interesting)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207853)

'cute pet names' for employees went out the window years ago.

You've never been to a strip club haven't you?

Best place to work in America? (4, Funny)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207169)

...is the UK. Here, a $180-dollar value bonus is worth considerably more than it was last year!

Re:Best place to work in America? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207201)

do you mean to say that UK is part of the US?

Re:Best place to work in America? (5, Funny)

Slashdotvagina (1434241) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207487)

a $180-dollar value bonus

Note: when you put the $ sign before 180, you pronounce it "one hundred eighty dollars". You don't need the redundant "-dollar" [sic] after.

Re:Best place to work in America? (2, Informative)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207563)

I'd like to pretend that there was some sort of power-of-dollar pun in my original post. But the truth is I'm drunk.

Re:Best place to work in America? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207783)

Fair enough.

unlocked phone $400 (3, Informative)

pthreadunixman (1370403) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207171)

Just to be pedantic, the retail price of an unlocked G1 is $400 not $150.

Re:unlocked phone $400 (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207297)

Though if zzzphone(.com) is valid those phones is only $125 or something such, the webpage suck balls so I won't try to find it again.

I'd be so happy with a G1 for 180 $ though :D

Re:unlocked phone $400 (3, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207645)

The value of a device you cannot sell and are not interested in using is $0.

Pretty big difference compared to a $1000 holiday bonus.

who cares (3, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207177)

Is this suppose to be a "don't be evil" article or something? Thousands of people have become unemployed and you people are bitching about a Christmas bonus, pathetic.

Re:who cares (1, Troll)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207217)

Honestly, Google doesn't really have to worry about the economy. Unless people stop getting internet access, Google has a rather steady source of income via ads and no one but the businesses pay a cent (and really, advertising is only going to slightly increase with a slowing economy as more people want to get more customers). Google isn't like the car manufacturers in which consumers voluntarily have to pay a large sum to get a car and taking a large amount of money to make the car. While Google does have to pay for servers and bandwidth, they have an almost unlimited commodity with a lot of people willing to buy it. Google isn't in bad financial shape.

Re:who cares (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207307)

But there is better places to spend the money than christmas bonuses.

Re:who cares (4, Insightful)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207629)

But there is better places to spend the money than christmas bonuses.

Don't be ridiculous. Is your other name Ebenezer Scrooge?

I personally do not get a Christmas Bonus (although I have other benefits), but I can see why a Christmas Bonus is good. Relatively speaking the "small" gift from a company to their employees can pay for itself. Increased loyalty. Increased work. The feeling that you belong and are valued. These things money cannot buy. A Christmas Bonus, however, can often go a long way towards it. It says "Yep, we've all done well. We're still in business and we can still pay you. Thanks for the work throughout the year". Employee profits. Company profits. It's a win-win situation.

Re:who cares (0)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207827)

I had to look it up to see who that was, history fail on two occasions:
1) "Better places" can still be charity of some sort, Google has money, sure they can pay some christmas bonuses, but are their employes some of the people who would benefit from the money the most? Gates do better than that =P (Though Google may support some open source initiatives I guess, summer of code?)
That will still give them good-will, but seriously, their employes probably do quite well anyway, or?

2) Yeah, sure it's sad if no-one cares about you or miss you once your dead, but it's life, go to a church yard, look at the graves of people who died 200-300 years ago, who cares about them? Who remembers them? So does it really matter? When I'm dead I still can't appreciate any mourning. A good life now is all that matters, and even that doesn't matter much more than for the impression of "me" / my soul / whatever you want to call it. When my brain starts shutting down all that I cared for will be useless anyway.

All the employees good-will you mention makes plenty of sense though, I didn't saw it as a huge additional "thank you." And well, I read it while it was 20-30k and not 1k =P
Guess I'll have to experience it myself to know how it feels to be part of and proud of something / what you've created.

Re:who cares (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207353)

Honestly, Google doesn't really have to worry about the economy.

Uh. Yeah. They do.

Unless people stop getting internet access, Google has a rather steady source of income via ads and no one but the businesses pay a cent (and really, advertising is only going to slightly increase with a slowing economy as more people want to get more customers).

1) The public doesn't give Google any money.
2) The businesses that buy advertising don't automatically have the money to increase advertising budgets in a 'slowing economy'.

Google isn't like the car manufacturers in which consumers voluntarily have to pay a large sum to get a car and taking a large amount of money to make the car.

Google's customer ARE the businesses.

Google isn't in bad financial shape.

It only lost 60% of its value this year. If you think that isn't having a MAJOR impact on it you are on crack. Yeah, its a long way from bankrupt, and I think we all agree it will weather this relatively well, but still... a REALLY big chunk of that ad revenue came from companies that are suffering badly right now... from AIG and Bear Stearns to Ford and GM. Their revenue is definitely shrinking right now.

Re:who cares (1, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207455)

1) The public doesn't give Google any money. 2) The businesses that buy advertising don't automatically have the money to increase advertising budgets in a 'slowing economy'.

On number 1, yes they do. Every click on a Google ad gives Google money from a business. On number 2, no they don't automatically have the money, but in a slowing economy, advertising budgets are going to be one of the last to be completely eliminated in hopes of attracting more customers.

It only lost 60% of its value this year. If you think that isn't having a MAJOR impact on it you are on crack. Yeah, its a long way from bankrupt, and I think we all agree it will weather this relatively well, but still... a REALLY big chunk of that ad revenue came from companies that are suffering badly right now... from AIG and Bear Stearns to Ford and GM. Their revenue is definitely shrinking right now.

Yes, but I still see ads for AIG, Ford, GM, etc. and no less than before they got bailed out/went bankrupt. Sure they might not have a 10 billion dollar budget on ads, but they are still going to advertise and Google is as cheap as any other way to get your ads out.

I also think that Google has spent a lot of money on the T-Mobile/Android deals. Android took a lot of time and money to develop, and also StreetView took many man-hours to complete. However, in the long run, Android is going to make Google billions in licensing and other revenue streams.

Oversimplify.. (2, Informative)

Junta (36770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207465)

How can they extract revenue from companies if those companies source of income dry up? Or even if they don't, a lot of companies are sort of going into hibernation, keeping core staff to maintain their curent efforts, but holding off on growth sorts of moves. I think companies facing diminishing income due to the economic state aren't believing that increased advertising budget is going to be the answer right now.

Makes me wonder if the number of google ads presented to people has decreased or will decrease in the near future. The whole fundamental nature of an economy is that things are interconnected. Particularly being a public company, they are practically obliged to panic in accordance with shareholder panic. Private companies will act on different whims, for better or worse (I know one private company in my area that has actually accelerated some hiring, to secure low price, grateful (loyal) workforce, since they know they can still afford to).

Re:who cares (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207609)

People won't stop getting internet access, but people aren't Google's customers; they are its product. Where do you think Google's money comes from?

Re:who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207283)

Is this suppose to be a "don't be evil" article or something? Thousands of people have become unemployed and you people are bitching about a Christmas bonus, pathetic.

Try millions of people. Thousands unemployed would be fekking awesome at this point. It is millions. I forget the exact number but from the big companies alone it is about a million per month or so. That does not include small companies so it is actually much higher.

Everyone around me seems to have lost their job recently. I am hanging on to mine right now but it does not look too promising.

Re:who cares (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207321)

I agree. I wouldn't be complaining about a free $400 phone for xmas. I'm more than happy getting a salary.

Re:who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207403)

To be fair, a lot of people rely on their yearly bonuses to make ends meet. If the standard yearly bonus is 20-30k, then I'm sure a lot of people were expecting it to happen, or at the very least, somewhere in the range of 10k-15k.

going from 20k to $400 (as suggested by other posters as to the true value of an unlocked g1) is a lot like someone saying "I'm going to give you $100" and then they give you $2 when you're expecting $100.

I doubt that every googler is in major financial trouble right now, but still, kinda sucks to get something worth 50x less than you were expecting.

google has been cutting back all year (5, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207185)

Google has been cutting back on perks all year. They haven't had any layoffs yet, but only because they've been canceling contractors. There's a reasonably chance they'll have to reduce employee head count next year.

Re:google has been cutting back all year (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207545)

Look, the problem is Google is a tech company and so they hired a large amount of people to work on a few projects, namely StreetView and Andorid. As StreetView is largely completed, there is no need for Google to keep the employees or contractors they hired for StreetView. Android is similarly mostly complete, it will take bugfixes and will need features added, but with the large amount of third-party applications Android is as good, or will be as good if not better as the iPhone, Windows Mobile, Symbian, and other smartphone operating systems. On the other hand, Apple with their Nazi-like approach to third-party apps, will need to keep a huge staff on hand to improve the iPhone's OS whereas Google can rely on third-party applciations.

Errr... Someplace has cheap Andorid phones! (4, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207187)

and substituted an unlocked Google Android cell phone, retail price $180.

Everywhere I have seen Google's unlocked Android phone it was for $399. Not $180 which is the price of one that is locked to T-Mobile's network and a 2 year contract. http://www.engadget.com/2008/12/05/sim-hardware-unlocked-android-dev-phone-1-surfaces-for-399/ [engadget.com] http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/Google-Releases-SIMunlocked-Android-Phone-For-399/ [eweek.com] http://code.google.com/android/dev-devices.html [google.com] all give the $399 price point.

Bonus (2, Interesting)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207211)

reportedly as much as $20K-$30K per Googler

Hey. I google therefore I am a googler. Where is my $30K bonus?

Seriously, have Google in the past given Christmas bonuses worth that much? I think I am in the wrong line of work...

Re:Bonus (3, Insightful)

netsavior (627338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207535)

considering google pays 30k-50k less(not including bonuses) than the industry standard in the area for software engineers, the bonus was just a convenient way for them to underpay if an issue arose.

It had to be said (5, Funny)

AgentUSA (251620) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207215)

Hey. If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I'd like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, fore-fleshing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is. Hallelujah. Holy shit. Where's the Tylenol?

It had to be said (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207295)

I'd like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight.

You watched that movie last night too, huh? :-)

R&D tax writeoff? (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207225)

Maybe they can put the whole thing down as an R&D project and get a tax writeoff? Ebenezer Scrooge would have been proud.

Briar Rabbit (4, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207233)

I know it's no $20-$30k, but I wouldn't be upset over an unlocked smartphone. It's a hell of a lot better than many past employers gave me.

Kudos to Valleywag for taking a non-issue and trying so valiantly to spin it negative. And a tip of the hat to the submitter for managing to paraphrase without getting in the way of the spin.

Re:Briar Rabbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207301)

Tech companies generally give out bonuses on the order of 10-20% your yearly salary. so 20k isn't unheard of at all.

Re:Briar Rabbit (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207777)

That's a pretty broad generalization. I've worked for 4 "tech" companies over the last 10 years, and none gave bonuses to anybody outside of sales.

Re:Briar Rabbit (1)

JDevers (83155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207655)

Seriously, I just got a ten dollar bonus that had fucking taxes taken out of it, so it was like $9.10. The worst thing is that I have worked jobs that didn't get any sort of bonus, but those were crappy jobs. This is a good job, I make about $40/hour and work about 45 hours per week on average. I don't know why they even bother with the stupid bonuses. I have to work Christmas day and get holiday pay then at $60/hour so I will make my bonus in like 10 minutes. Who the hell knows.

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207237)

Maybe they'll figure out how to make the battery last longer. Honestly, the Android is not all that rad.

But it beats my bonus, which came in the form of a $20 AMC theaters card from my boss (paid out of his pocket, so not a bonus really).

A Christmas bonus? (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207239)

My company hasn't given a Christmas bonus in several years. I weep for the guys at Google, I really do.

How many slashdotters work for a company that gives a Christmas bonus? Maybe that should be a poll question.

On the flip side, we've let no one go, not even contractors. Maybe not having Christmas bonuses is the reason we can afford a full staff even during an economic down turn. Maybe Google will come back wiser for it.

Re:A Christmas bonus? (2, Informative)

droopycom (470921) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207323)

The thing is many google employees/job candidates probably factor in the expected Christmas bonus when deciding to work for Google.

Google's salaries are reportedly lower than most competitors, but they make the difference with bonuses and other perks.

Now if the bonus disappear, its going to be easier for googlers to do a fair comparaison...

Re:A Christmas bonus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207681)

former googler here. The pay was shit. But the perks (free soda, cafeteria, massages, great working environment, cool coworkers, 20% do-whatever-the-fuck-you-want-time, etc) made it worthwhile. At first. After a while, I didn't have the time to partake, so it ended up just another underpaid job. I miss the early days, but they've lost a lot of what made them better.

Re:A Christmas bonus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207499)

I do. Week's pay.

Re:A Christmas bonus? (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207711)

My company hasn't given a Christmas bonus in several years. I weep for the guys at Google, I really do. How many slashdotters work for a company that gives a Christmas bonus? Maybe that should be a poll question.

I've worked at my company since 12/2002 (I was 24). Besides that year and last year, every year we've had a *Christmas* bonus. It was specifically called that; same with the *Christmas* party. We aren't big enough to worry about having to exclude Christians in the name of diversity. Last year right before the bonuses were given out they announced a change where the money that we would have gotten in our bonuses would now be a raise (although we still had received raises in previous years in addition to a Christmas bonus) and be spread over the entire following year. Typically my raises were 4-5% when most people's were about 3% (I do exceptional work). This year though I was surprised to not only get a 4% raise but they still sent out a bonus. The bonus wasn't as much as the previous years (about 33% of a regular bonus) but considering their new policy I was surprised. The included Christmas card mentioned that in these tough times the company wanted to give back to their employees. I greatly appreciated the gesture. A few months ago they sent out a similar amount (at least mine was similar) for similar reasons (high gas prices, etc.). My company has about 200 employees and is a gov't contractor. Bonuses come out of company profits.

Well... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207255)

times might be tough... but at least you got rid of the WMD :D ye... i'm laughing... i can't stop laughing into you little faces with the whiny voices.. :D

Public relations filter is needed (3, Insightful)

wattersa (629338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207269)

This story demonstrates the need for some type of public relations filter on Slashdot stories. Too often, a company's PR statements are taken as fact. Here, perhaps the people who run google may have been wanting to end yearly bonuses for a long time. Fearing employee backlash, they needed a plausible cover story. The economy is easy to blame. Look, I know that it's entirely possible their motivations are accurately stated in the press release. I contend, however, that it is equally likely that the economy gives Google the opportunity to change its bonus program without suspicion. Given past violations of the "don't be evil" rule, this wouldn't be surprising.

Re:Public relations filter is needed (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207355)

Yeah, any reason to have a cheap shot at your enemy, whatever dude. You Google haters are all fucking idiots anyway..

I think.. (4, Informative)

Junta (36770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207365)

A *lot* of companies used the media mass hysteria as cover to take such actions, long before many of them had felt any measurable impact at all. I.e. companies that still reported profit still said the economy impact was such they simply had to take drastic measures.

Of course, it's all a negative feedback loop. It was bad enough as was, but with the media saying "great depression" over and over again, consumer confidence took a dive and companies started either panicking or taking advantage, which certainly doesn't help matters.

Re:Public relations filter is needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207443)

Well to go along with that - Don't be Evil - is a joke for Google. They have the worst privacy record of any company on Earth.

Google is basically the definition of Evil.

Re:Public relations filter is needed (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207503)

the economy is the fucking reality numbnuts. when money stops comming in business evaluates where it's spending it's $, and i suspect internet ads aren't high on the list. less money for google, less money to be generous with.

Re:Public relations filter is needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207761)

Yeah on other sites they're called editors ;)

Trouble.. (1)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207271)

Old Google:

Here's some money! You're awesome! We're awesome!

New Google:

Here's some (FREE!) company branded merchandise! We'd love you to improve it so we can make more money! We're awesome!"

sensationalist summary much? (1, Insightful)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207303)

Ok, dog food! Poor google employees are getting a free 400 $us phone for Christmas! Not only that, but they allegedly used to get 30K in the past. This is exploitation!

BAIL OUT (0, Offtopic)

retech (1228598) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207325)

Perhaps Google should apply for a bail out too. How hard would it be to just print some extra money?

Re:BAIL OUT (1)

HexaByte (817350) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207739)

How hard would it be to just print some extra money?

Which is why the only industries not suffering right now are ink and paper!

I'd still take a job with them. (3, Insightful)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207329)

Hey, if google wanted to hire me, I'd totally take it.

Re:I'd still take a job with them. (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207527)

At this rate I know programmers who would work for actual dog food.

Re:I'd still take a job with them. (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207635)

Trust me, you wouldn't, unless you were unemployed and had no other prospects. I almost went to work for Google several years ago, but I would've had to take a $65K/yr pay cut and basically live at the Googleplex (you're not forced, but it's fairly indoctrinated that you better be there most of the time). Nuts to that.

Re:I'd still take a job with them. (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207659)

Yeah, well I don't even make $65k/year, and the building I work in now is a grey cinder block rectangle with peeling paint and a parking lot that resembles the surface of the moon. And for the last three years my company has given us a $25 gift card for our holiday bonus, I don't get any stock options, and our cafeteria is halfway decent at best.

Re:I'd still take a job with them. (2, Interesting)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207697)

If you're in IT, start looking for another gig. It seems (from anecdotal evidence from several people) that IT hasn't been that battered by the recession.

Re:I'd still take a job with them. (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207737)

Good call, but in my region the economy sucks, and with real estate being in a huge depression I have no hope of relocating without taking a giant loss on my house. :/

It might still be worth it though, if I can find a really good job.

Valleywag, your trusted source for real news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207335)

I'm always amazed by the "news" that valleywag reports, and how being anywhere close to factual is at the bottom of the priority list.

Books on Android development (1)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207369)

Hello Android is the only one of these which isn't out yet. Hell, if you order one tomorrow, one-day shipping will get it there before Christmas!

Re:Books on Android development (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207521)

Hello Android is the only one of these which isn't out yet

Clearly, they're still working out the kinks in Zombie Cyborg McLean Stevenson.

(for those who don't get it and need to get off my lawn: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078623/ [imdb.com])

Misleading summary (0)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207407)

Dogfood indeed.

Not.

  Google handed out phones and asked employees to test them & find flaws. This is not unusual; Microsoft does the same thing in its offices (using and testing its own products).

Re:Misleading summary (1)

Jeff Hornby (211519) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207473)

Google handed out phones and asked employees to test them & find flaws A process known as dogfooding.

Re:Misleading summary (1)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207679)

That's basically exactly what eating one's own dogfood means... a company that uses its own product. Like many English idioms, its not exactly transparent... but whatever. This is slashdot. It's too much to ask people to RTFA or any other links that might complete the summary.

Re:Misleading summary (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207735)

  Google handed out phones and asked employees to test them & find flaws. This is not unusual; Microsoft does the same thing in its offices (using and testing its own products).

Well, okay, but with Microsoft products finding flaws is a lot less work!

Cry me a river. (2, Insightful)

v3lut (123906) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207419)

My Christmas bonus was a reduction in pay.

My ex's Christmas bonus was a reduction in work days.

My friend's Christmas bonus was a pink slip.

You'll forgive me if I fail to care that Google game their employees a smaller than expected bonus.

dogfood? (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207501)

The article headline is unnecessarily sensationalistic. I read it and was like, woah, Google is giving actual dog food as a bonus?! And then I found out actually it's a pretty cool device that costs over £400 after shipping and tax - which is about 72 hours work on the minimum wage. Cry me a river - I don't know of any other company even bothering with Christmas bonuses this year.

Love it... (3, Interesting)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207511)

Typical of the post dot-com environment. People need to start looking at what the phrase total compensation means, and take it to mean "salary + bonuses + stock" Take your cash incentives (salary, bonuses) add in HR benefits (health/dental/optical) plus all the other discounted benefits (daycare, gyms, educational reimbursement etc..) and then the stock purchase plans (either awarded options or ESPP) and 401k.

Well, Google's stock isn't doing too well this year (from $716 down to $300), so there are quite a few people that are thinking, "The stock needs to triple before my options are above water...". Now if the choice from senior management is either no bonuses, or layoffs; most people will take no bonus rather than no job.

I do think giving a phone is just a form of lip service and is a slap in the face. Can you imagine Cisco giving out Linksys routers instead of bonuses? Apple giving out $200 worth of iTunes songs? HomeDepot giving out a free Ryobi drill set?

What really blows my mind is that most people choose their phone because of features/functionality and service provider. The actual cost of the phone itself usually isn't a factor since the service providers often give them away at a severely discounted price.

Re:Love it... (4, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207567)

Yeah, I really hate it when employers give out stuff at Christmas. That really sucks. How evil.

Oh, wait, no it doesn't. A $400 phone is a slap in the face? Wow. All of your examples sound like a nice thank you from an employer who's not actually obligated to give you anything.

Re:Love it... (1)

penguinbrat (711309) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207821)

Agreed,

A $400 phone and keeping the same salary would be a hell of a lot better than getting the pink slip...

Re:Love it... (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207839)

What really blows my mind is that most people choose their phone because of features/functionality and service provider.

Hate to state the obvious, but if you are already working for Google, chances are that you have little in common with "most people". As for the service provider thing, one would suppose that an unlocked phone can work with the major service providers.

Slap in the face (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207631)

Wow what a slap in the face for Google employees. Getting a shitty phone as a gift. I work for a small company and my bonus is $3000 every year. Sucks to be them. The G1 is one crappy phone.

Google Bonus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207671)

Does anyone have any idea what the typical bonus at Google is and what the numbers this year will be?

I was thinking about joining their NYC office... not sure now.

Dear fellow Google Employees (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207673)

If there about $25k employees, management just wasted $10m on phones, but since they are internally purchased, I bet they spent 10% of that. It's not like I can resell that phone on eBay and make $400. Can I donate it to charity and take a $400 tax deduction?

So now they've given us free phones. Once again taking the tact of offering us perks who's sole intent is to keep us working. Note the phrase in the letter,

We're really excited about getting the phone to more Googlers in more countries, and also seeing all the cool new things you do with it.

So instead of giving us a check for which we can do whatever we want with it. We're now being given phones so that we can do more work on our own time. I'm a bit jealous of those people that received cash instead, at least then I can go take my wife and kids out on the town or use it to purchase gifts. Try putting one fucking phone under the tree. I'd rather have not received anything, at least then I can tell my wife, "due to the economic climate, no bonuses were given out this year."

Hey Google management, how about coming up with a business plan to solve this stock problem? Android isn't going to solve this as it appeals to the /. crowd, which is NOT the masses. You can take this phone and shove it right up your ass.

I Work at Google... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207683)

... and frankly this story (like most on Valleywag) is ridiculous. 20-30k as a year-end _Christmas_ bonus? Come on, people. If that were true, you would have heard about _that_ in prior years.

There is a small seed of truth. Prior years, the bonus was given in cash, but for a comparatively (but still generous) amount. Was it more than the cost of an unlocked G1 (~$400)? Sure, but those years were also better. There are gifts, not entitlements.

It was still a very nice gesture. None of us are promised Xmas bonus. A lot of friends don't get jack-sh*t in terms of bonus. Heck quite a few have even lost their job.

So count me in the grateful pile. I'm still glad I have my job & that that job is at Google.

The Christmas Bonus (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207709)

Am I the only one who sees the christmas bonus as a bizarre ritual? Since I'm self employed, I haven't had one in about a decade (I think I got a gift certificate for a turkey or something insane), but I've never felt like I was owed a christmas bonus. Sure, I cashed in whatever it was, but I never felt appreciative, nor did I ever feel like I was owed anything.

Back when I worked for a company, my attitude was that I do a service in exchange for money. It's not an emotional relationship, it's business, pure and simple.

It would be a good world if everyone stopped looking at their employer as their parents, looking for free handouts.

Good for us, 'meh' for them. (1)

Pederson (1431413) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207715)

Good for us, not the BEST for them. Oh well. Google is smart. They know they're not invincible and they're taking minor steps that will ultimately add up to increased chance of survival (which is also good for us)

SEC Filing Suggests Google's Cash Going Elsewhere? (1)

theodp (442580) | more than 5 years ago | (#26207769)

Interesting that as Google cried cash-poor to employees ("current economic crisis requires us to be more conservative about how we spend our money"), it was filing a (paper) Form 40-APP [sec.gov] with the SEC asking for an exemption from the Investment Company Act of 1940. Google explained that a past 40-APP SEC filing [blogspot.com] was necessary so the company could realize 'sustainable competitive advantages' by investing its cash stash in something less conservative than US Government securities.

So is Google hiring??????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26207787)

My son has been out of work for a very long time and he would be a great asset to Google....even without the Christmas bonus, he would take that job in a heartbeat! And knowing him, he would love that phone!!! :) Merry Christmas to all and to all a better 2009!

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