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Google's Best Perk — Transport

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the Wi-Fi-included dept.

Google 342

Reverse Gear writes "The New York Times has an interesting article about how different kinds of fringe benefits are starting to count more in the fight for the best brains in Silicon Valley. The article mainly focuses on Google's high-tech shuttle-bus system, which is quite extensive, covering a majority of the San Fransisco Bay area. The article quotes a transportation expert opining that Google's may be the largest such private system anywhere. One-quarter of the headquarters employees are now using it. A Google software engineer said: 'They could either charge for the food or cut it altogether... If they cut the shuttle, it would be a disaster.'"

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Why not Google Housing? (5, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310186)

With the high costs and difficulty of real-estate, a Google Comune may be a good idea.

Re:Why not Google Housing? (5, Funny)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310220)

They would still need transportation. I mean who wants to live at the office? Oh, wait... This is slashdot. OK. Who ELSE wants to live at the office?

Re:Why not Google Housing? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18310274)

All they have to do is build dual-use office/condo towers.

Then people can start bitching about how long the commute takes in the morning when all the elevators start filling up.

Re:Why not Google Housing? (2, Insightful)

fireduck (197000) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310366)

This isn't necessarily such a bad idea. In Irvine, the big tech center of Southern California, the Irvine Company is building luxury apartment complexes adjacent to new office space. The best part is that it's also across the street from a large retail / entertainment center. So people literally live where they can work and play. I don't see anything wrong with this idea. At least for people who chose apartment living.

Re:Why not Google Housing? (5, Funny)

Goblez (928516) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310404)

I dont' know how wild most people are living quite so close to work. That day you *cough* call in sick *cough* and run down to get a soda or something and bump into a peer or worse yet a superior . . .

Re:Why not Google Housing? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18310466)

Who is also supposed to be at work, so both of you do your best to pretend that you never saw each other.

Re:Why not Google Housing? (2, Informative)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310638)

I dont' know how wild most people are living quite so close to work. That day you *cough* call in sick *cough* and run down to get a soda or something and bump into a peer or worse yet a superior . . .

Most companies are doing away with sick-only time and creating a hybrid sick/vacation day so that the employer doesn't have to verify or care whether it's an illness or the ski-bug. But, I supposse it is still an issue of you want to ditch for a ski trip during an important deadline.

Sick/Vacation - The Good and the Bad (3, Informative)

SRA8 (859587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310830)

I used to work for a company that had combination sick/vacation days. The downside was that when people were slightly to moderately sick, they still came to work, hoping not to lose a day of vacation. Their productivity wasnt great and they got other people sick. On the positive side, they usually ended up with 25 vacation days a year, which was great, esp if you can cash out some of it.

Re:Why not Google Housing? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310430)

This kind of development makes sense.
It has been going on since communities began gathering together.

Whether it is a mining town or a fishing town or a technology town, people appreciate not wasting half their day commuting.

The company store (3, Insightful)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310520)

Whether it is a mining town or a fishing town or a technology town, people appreciate
Not as much as the upper management appreciates knowing both your wages and how much it costs your family to eat every month. Think modern day companies with in-house bank branches and with the right to scrape your screen when you check your ledger balance or recent transactions online at work.

What do you do when wages and cost of food begin to approach each other? At what point is the foul acknowledged when wages = CoF - 1 ?

Re:The company store (4, Insightful)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310588)

Paranoid much? These are tech companies, not mining towns, and people can jump ship at a moment's notice. Also, squeezing people like that makes them dishonest, so it's not advisable even when you can get away with it.

Paranoid (1, Interesting)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310606)

These are tech companies
Calling me paranoid doesn't mean that tech companies are philanthropic. They exist to make a profit.

Naive much? Or just trolling? Don't be ashamed to admit it.

Re:Paranoid (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310752)

Calling me paranoid doesn't mean that tech companies are philanthropic.
No, but no one claimed that, did they? What was said was that your paranoid vision of the old "owe my soul to the company store" system that worked when labor was cheap and replaceable showing up in the modern tech industry is ridiculous. We aren't 1000 okies clamoring for 300 jobs picking fruit, willing to live in company-owned shacks at high rents because we can't afford to look for a better job without starving ourselves and our families. Seriously, you really should look at the circumstances surrounding all those past "company town" situations so you might see that they didn't arise simply because the company happened to own all the local housing.

Re:Paranoid (1)

The PS3 Will Fail (998952) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310776)

"Calling me paranoid doesn't mean that tech companies are philanthropic. They exist to make a profit."
I believe his main point was that competition for employees will prevent this from becoming a real problem. You might want to get an adjustment to your medications - you went from 0 to asshole pretty quickly there.

Re:Paranoid (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18310816)

from 0 to asshole pretty quickly...

Most communists do that.

Re:Why not Google Housing? (2, Interesting)

Servo (9177) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310536)

You see this type of idea in a lot of major metro areas that have very compact urban areas. It can be a win-win-win situation. Employees have less travel to work, so less stress. Less people driving/taking mass transit for long distances so the infrastructure costs become more manageable. Increased population density so there is a reduction in urban sprawl while still letting the local tax base grow.

Re:Why not Google Housing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18310708)

The military has been doing this for decades.

Re:Why not Google Housing? (1)

Tatarize (682683) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310432)

Yeah, you figure Google could crank out some nice housing for the employees. With the most bad ass internet connection ever. It would cut back on the transport if they are close to Google HQ. This would honestly reduce the cost of living for all Google employees so much that their paycheck would pretty much be spending money.

Re:Why not Google Housing? (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310586)

More important, Google already has the facilities to zoom in on the housing units and monitor everything their employees are doing! They could call it "GoogleEarth-Employee Monitoring Edition"!

I'm jealous of Google bastards. Son of a bitches. *pout*

Re:Why not Google Housing? (5, Insightful)

Giometrix (932993) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310924)

It would really suck though, if you were to get laid off....now you're out of a job and a home.

Re:Why not Google Housing? (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310474)

I would live in a commune. Or rather, some sort of "corporate park". I have long wished that my employer owned and offered residential services on campus or at least near the campus with direct shuttles. In fact, I would rather have that than a raise at this point. And our company is not small. It has about 45,000 employees.

Re:Why not Google Housing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18310496)

I've always liked this idea, having a facility where corporate housing is either very nearby or connected to the main office, by elevators or a monorail system.. but as I get older I'm more against the corporate culture.. So if you want your life to be dedicated to your employer then by all means go for it but it's not my cup of tea.

Owned by the corporate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18310530)

Is it only I who is reminded of the works of Gibson. Where corporations *own* you, your family, your dog and your kitchensink.

Simpsons (2, Funny)

istartedi (132515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310742)

Why not a whole town? They could even have a hammock district.

My Work Is My Life (0)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310188)

should be the geek mantra, and companies like Google know it.

Re:My Work Is My Life (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18310548)

Horse shit. It shouldn't be anybody's mantra. To put it quite simply, I work to live. I don't live to work. Living to work just ain't healthy, hence the reason stuff like showers combined with cots and other "live in" amenities at work are frankly a bad idea.

Go spend some time in the light of the daystar if you believe otherwise. You probably need it.

Re:My Work Is My Life (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310612)

Go do a PhD, then you'll know what I'm talking about, and you'll know what being a Google hotshot is all about.

Re:My Work Is My Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18310838)

If that's what it's like then you can keep it.

Cost Cutting (4, Insightful)

biocute (936687) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310210)

As a listed company, what if Google is asked by shareholders to cut costs when the inevitable "down" periods start to kick in?

Trimming the verge (5, Insightful)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310272)

Google will do what all companies do: Identify the largest portion of the employee population, usually those making less than $80k/year, and will initiate a program of attrition. Yearly raises will be slashed, performance reviews will be capped, and the incoming salary offers for non-priveleged candidates (ie. everyday technological associates) will be levelled off. Middle and lower managers will receive bonuses based upon how flat they can keep their budgets and not based upon any real technological performance--maybe a more preferred stock offering will be available to managers whose budgets increase by only justified amounts. In order to maintain a good image Google, as a corporate entity, will remind incoming candidates that "We may not be able to offer the same compensation as our competitors but we do offer transportation to and from work which we see as a valuable fringe benefit which both enhances the employee paycheck and works to preserve the environment."

Re:Trimming the verge (1)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310482)

Mod him up to a high 5 insightful. This is a great way to make sure everyone gets to work on time, not to mention some shenanigans, maybe even some tom-foolery. Yay google!

Re:Trimming the verge (1)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310552)

"We may not be able to offer the same compensation as our competitors but we do offer transportation to and from work which we see as a valuable fringe benefit which both enhances the employee paycheck and works to preserve the environment."
What kind of compensation does Google offer? I've heard over this line and over that Google doesn't pay as well as their competitors, relying instead on these intangible perks, but how does that translate into dollars and cents?

Re:Cost Cutting (5, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310276)

Given the Google owner's hold over 50% of the shares, can anyone do anything beyond simply asking them?

Re:Cost Cutting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18310352)

There's always the possibility of a minority shareholder lawsuit. However my understanding is that this is really only viable for gross negligence and wouldn't be a way to reduce expensive but potentially useful employee perks. Otherwise, the founders basically run the show.

Re:Cost Cutting (1)

biocute (936687) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310358)

While they may have the majority, if a public company is seen as incapable of adjusting according to economic trends (ie still spending big in slow economy), the share price will drop as minority shareholders start abandoning the company.

Re:Cost Cutting (1)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310436)

How would this actually hurt Google? I may be mistaken, but as far as I know, their share price has no affect on their income. Is any part of Google's day-to-day operations connected to their stock price at all?

Re:Cost Cutting (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310472)

if a public company is seen as incapable of adjusting according to economic trends (ie still spending big in slow economy), the share price will drop as minority shareholders start abandoning the company.
What makes you think Google's founders care about share prices?

Wall Street analysts have been pissed off with Google for a very long time.
http://www.google.com/search?q=google+stock+"lack+ of+transparency" [google.com]

My basic point is that Google decided not to play Wall Street's short term game from the very beginning.

Re:Cost Cutting (1)

synx (29979) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310928)

People are forgetting 2 things:

- the IPO filing prospectus said this - we are after the long term, don't expect us to optimize for short term gains.
- A/B class structure. Google insiders hold 95%+ of the voting power

Re:Cost Cutting (1)

thue (121682) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310422)

Not to be pedantic, but...

Ok, to be really pedantic, Google's owners per definition own 100% of the shares. :)

And it is "owners", not owner's. :)

Re:Cost Cutting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18310780)

Given the Google owner's hold over 50% of the shares, can anyone do anything beyond simply asking them?
Not to be pedantic, but...
Notice the lack of a "that," as in "Given that the Google..." In the case of the GP, the word "hold" is a noun belonging to the Google owners.
Therefore it should be owners', not owners, nor owner's.

In saner parts of the world... (3, Insightful)

dkf (304284) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310222)

... there is real mass transit so that companies don't have to invest money in doing this for themselves. This leads me to ask a few rhetorical questions: How long before Google gets together with some of the other tech companies in the area to run a shared service? How long after that before it transforms into the sort of mass transit service that people elsewhere in the world take for granted?

Welcome to the consequences of high-density living.

Re:In saner parts of the world... (4, Interesting)

GregPK (991973) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310262)

Just think of the engineering discussions and the kinds of networking that would go on if they shared the transportation system. Intel employees could bounce ideas off of google ones creating a rather good synergy for building up servers, etc.. Really I don't know what company wouldn't want thier employees on that bus especially if google was a potential customer for them.

Transportation agreement (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310298)

In order to obtain your pass to ride the shared corporate transit system you will need to sign an NDA which amounts to "silence must be kept at all times". Video and audio recorders mounted within the bus will ensure that employees who have displeased their managers will be fired for saying "Bless you" when someone sneezes while employees who "give it up" to their management will be allowed to trade hot stock tips and infrastructure design improvements with their peers from other companies.

Re:Transportation agreement (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18310364)

YEAH!

AND: The impoverished outside the bus will smash bottles of gin and pick-me-up against the iron grill mesh on the side of the bus windows, while gigantic silhouettes against the acid rain clouds will give away the positions of robotic helicopters search for we three-- we three freedom fighters, who will be crouching along, beneath the ground, within the sewers, with only 5 mag-guns, 2 cheap laptops, and a crazy lost child known only as "Mic," who may-- JUST MAY-- hold the secrets to ending this nightmare, locked within... ...her broken mind.

Google Corp, and all you other wretched Corps, ... you just watch your back.

Re:Transportation agreement (1)

GregPK (991973) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310510)

What is funnier is that all said employees who got fired would go start another company. Especially since they would probably be the prima donna's. Freedom promotes innovation. Fear promotes revolution. Take your pick which would you rather have. I think you should just outlaw any executives and managers from the bus. So you can keep the people who do most of the innovation on the bus together bouncing ideas off each other.

Prima donnas (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310580)

I think you meant to say the people who create the groundbreaking ideas which the managers love to steal and present as their own. Innovators.

Prima donnas are described by m-w.com: "a vain or undisciplined person who finds it difficult to work under direction or as part of a team". Those would be the ones who, with proper political support, are promoted to upper management. Those who are not promoted to upper management are shuffled into sales jobs.

How does one tell the difference between an innovator and a prima donna? The innovators get fired when they ask for a raise. The prima donnas receive unemployment until they move to sales, HR, or PR.

Re:In saner parts of the world... (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310942)

Qualcomm would not want their employees on this bus. Any company that considers their intellectual property to be their most valuable asset (as Qualcomm does) would not want ideas traded on the bus.

Re:In saner parts of the world... (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310290)

While ever they're only one of the few companies doing it, Google will want to keep the price of doing it as high as possible as it will be a perk. However once it becomes a standard feature of employment, then you'll see Google and other companies banding together and most likely eventually opening it to the public.

Re:In saner parts of the world... (2, Insightful)

NoodleSlayer (603762) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310334)

This is *NOT* simply a mass transit system though. These busses are much more posh then you'd see in any public transit system, and are equipped with things like WiFi.

And considering the paranoid security climate around the valley, there's a good chance that no two companies would agree to share a shuttle service like that simply because they'd be too worried about company secrets leaking. And Google isn't the only company that has services like this, Apple has some shuttles available for employees that live in the Santa Cruz area and I'm sure there's a couple I don't know about. Those shuttles are usually organized by the employees though, which makes Google's system unique.

Re:In saner parts of the world... (0, Troll)

j-pimp (177072) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310342)

... there is real mass transit so that companies don't have to invest money in doing this for themselves. This leads me to ask a few rhetorical questions: How long before Google gets together with some of the other tech companies in the area to run a shared service? How long after that before it transforms into the sort of mass transit service that people elsewhere in the world take for granted?

Welcome to the consequences of high-density living.
Are you predicting the free market will deliver a better mass transportation system than a government monopoly? Surely you jest? Next you'll suggest private education and people paying for there own healthcare!

Re:In saner parts of the world... (2, Insightful)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310484)

Define better.

For example, Google's shuttles don't run between 11am and 3:30pm.

Re:In saner parts of the world... (1)

j-pimp (177072) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310728)

Define better.

For example, Google's shuttles don't run between 11am and 3:30pm.
You have a valid point. However, there is no demand for this for the market eligible for this transportation system. This is also not a very free market. It's a corporate subsidy as opposed to a government subsidy in this case.

However, assuming this grows beyond google, and a few San Fransisco companies get together and form a bus company they could eventually allow the general public to get on the bus if they pay a per ride fare.

Yes I am just speculating here. However, that is what the parent of my original reply was doing.

Re:In saner parts of the world... (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310860)

Shhhh...stop trying to inject common sense into the growing climate of creeping socialism in the US. You'll just confuse things if you keep talking about sensible approaches.

Re:In saner parts of the world... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18310344)

Welcome to the consequences of high-density living.

Not quite. Welcome to the consequences of badly-planned high-density living, with not-so-competent city governments...

Emery-Go-Round (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18310406)

There's a free shuttle service in Emeryville, Ca (SFBay Area) that's funded by commercial property owners. Not only do the employees of the funders benefit but so does the surrounding community. Very nice!

Sanity? Don't need no stinkin' sanity! (2, Informative)

fm6 (162816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310796)

... there is real mass transit so that companies don't have to invest money in doing this for themselves.

Amen to that. Alas, Americans think mass transit is evil.

How long before Google gets together with some of the other tech companies in the area to run a shared service?

Lots of SV companies sponsor shuttles, either jointly or on their own. Google's is the first one I've heard of that is so popular. The other shuttles are less ambitious; mostly they bridge the gap between the local train station and the workplace. Only a small percentage of the employees use them.

Why is Google's shuttle program so much more popular? Probably because they can afford to throw a lot of money at the problem. Providing decent transit in a sprawl [google.com] is expensive. It takes a lot of vehicles to cover all those little neighborhoods. Google can afford it, but most other companies cannot.

And even a company that's rolling in dough is not likely to spend that kind of money on perks. If they did, they'd take heat from their shareholders for not "controlling costs". Google is exempt from that problem because because they've managed to lock out their Class B shareholders from any effective voice in the company.

Re:In saner parts of the world... (3, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310916)

In saner parts of the world, private companies aren't asked to provide health insurance for their employees.

Here in the US, we expect private companies to provide health insurance, which has a host of evil effects on employees and employers. Employees get stuck in a job if they get sick, for fear of losing insurance. Employers end up fighting with employees over health benefits. More often than not when there is a big labor dispute, it's over health insurance.

In a global economy, when you produce in the US and sell overseas, you pay your employee's health care here, then through taxes pay for your competitors' employees health care over there.

We're big on talking about rugged individualism here, but what's the point of it if we don't use our brains? We act as if the world would come to the end if for once we admitted that everyone else in the world has got it right.

Re:In saner parts of the world... (2, Informative)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310944)

Oddly enough, the San Francisco Bay Area probably has one of the better mass transit systems in the country. It is far, far from perfect, though, and is designed primarily to shuttle people into San Francisco. It's easy for people like me, in the East Bay, to commute to downtown San Francisco by train. But it'd be near impossible for me to do that to Silicon Valley as it'd require changing from one train to another, with the stations being two miles apart.

The other interesting thing is that what Google is doing only differs by scale from what others in the area are doing. Lots of companies run shuttles in downtown San Francisco to and from the local mass transit points.

Smart move (5, Insightful)

26199 (577806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310228)

I'm sure lots of professionals feel the pain of a daily commute. Anything that improves it is a fairly major perk.

Obviously the next step is to found the Googleopolis... or perhaps just purchase an existing city outright...

Re:Smart move (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18310532)

From the summary:


Google's may be the largest such private system anywhere


The author needs to get out more. In the poorer parts of Asia, many factories provide fleets of busses to haul workers to and from their villages. These people are often too poor to afford any sort of private transport. This is a very old idea that has been heavily embraced in many poorer parts of the world. Not everything at Google is the first/biggest/best/brightest.

However, I'm sure that Google's staff crap bigger than the rest of us.

Can't beat the greeny angle (3, Informative)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310248)

Google is quite good with this in how environmentally friendly it is. However company(s) in Australia not that long ago would pay for taxis to and from work that would go directly to your house. They were just normal taxis that were free for you. I don't know how wide-spread this practice was, I imagine it wasn't too widespread, but I do know of at least one Australian company that did it. So while its good that Google does it nowadays (as I believe the company has since stopped), its a shame services like this are unusual rather then the norm.

Telecommuting is still better (2, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310504)

The only hassle with Google is that you need to show up to make use of all their other perks.

With a broadband connection you can work from home just as easily as from a cube. I've been doing that for years as an employee. As a moonlighting consultant I often work for people I have never seen in countries I have never been to.

For the rest of us... (2, Funny)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310266)

Dear Employee,

You were late again today. You're fired. Report to HR immediately. Remeber, you are being watched.

Sincerely,

The Big Boss

Whatever happened to telecommuting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18310270)

So apparently, IT jobs in the United States can easily be outsourced to Bangalore, India, because the Internet makes it possible to do work remotely (across the world, across entire oceans) without skipping a beat.

But a bus needs to be run to transport workers 45 minutes away from work?

WTF?

Re:Whatever happened to telecommuting? (1)

ccgr (612619) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310288)

if they telecommute than they miss out on free food, checkups, and an opportunity to show off their pets

Re:Whatever happened to telecommuting? (1)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310384)

Obviously a large percentage of Google's workers work at Google's offices because there are some corporate goals not easily achieved through telecommuting.

Re:Whatever happened to telecommuting? (5, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310446)

So apparently, IT jobs in the United States can easily be outsourced to Bangalore, India, because the Internet makes it possible to do work remotely (across the world, across entire oceans) without skipping a beat. But a bus needs to be run to transport workers 45 minutes away from work?

Cutting-edge work generally needs close-knit collaboration and understanding of local culture. The stuff easiest to offshore are things that are fairly easy to define clearly up-front. I suspect that some of Google's maintenance work will eventually go there when they face a budget crunch in the future (and cut back on R&D).
     

Re:Whatever happened to telecommuting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18310792)

Ever been to Microsoft's campus? Most of their employees are from Bangalore already.

Re:Whatever happened to telecommuting? (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310980)

It's because only mediocre companies outsource to Bangalore.

What the best companies realize is that to get the best people, be they in Mountain View or Bangalore, you need to pay top wages. That's an attitude diametrically opposed to outsourcing.

Blow being a self-employed consultant! (2, Funny)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310304)

I want to work for Google!

Re:Blow being a self-employed consultant! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18310642)

Blow being a self-employed consultant! (Score:2) by BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) on Sunday March 11, @04:47PM (#18310304)

I want to work for Google!

Better not tell Daddy, or at least hone your ducking skills to survive being around Uncle Steve ;p

Tax status? (3, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310312)

I'm guessing that part of the reason is due to taxes. That is, employees don't have to count the "value" of the bus service as income, so it's not taxed. So if the bus service costs $500/employee-year and their effective marginal tax rate is 35% (state, local, fed, SS), as long as the bus service is better than $325/year in additional pay, it's a good deal.

Re:Tax status? (1)

hankwang (413283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310556)

So if the bus service costs $500/employee-year

It's probably way more expensive than that. In Europe, you would pay around EUR 1400 per year as an individual for a 30 km commute in ordinary public transport. (I checked Netherlands and Sweden) A quick check at the Caltrain website suggests that something equivalent in California would be $1200 per year. Now I don't know how the government subsidizes public transport and how exactly that would compare to Google setting up their own transport (roads are also government-subsidized), but I'm pretty sure that shuttles with on-board wifi, laptop connections, and leather seats would be considerably more expensive than ordinary public transport.

moo (3, Informative)

slothman32 (629113) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310360)

Here in Rochester, where Kodak is located, we have Kodak Park.
It's a huge area with it's own rail system.

Today with digital they have less a presence but it still does alot of stuff.

I don't know about the costs or perks of it though.

Geeks never got a school bus ride (5, Funny)

aiwarrior (1030802) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310368)

Geeks never got the chance of enjoying a good school bus trip without beeing mocked or running after the bus(look at peter parker). Now they want to get that part of teenagehood they were denied. Google is also putting hot chicks that actually want to sit with a geek, and thats why it aint cheap! Hail google the shuttle overlord.

Re:Geeks never got a school bus ride (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310398)

Geeks never got the chance of enjoying a good school bus trip without beeing mocked

But the Google Bus will divide up into the BSD side and the Linux side, and all hell will break loose anyhow.
     

Re:Geeks never got a school bus ride (4, Funny)

Servo (9177) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310434)

At least they can all share in laughing at the SCO employees riding the short bus.

mod dOwn (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18310370)

that have raged bunch of gay negros the top. or w3re, Fuck The Baby here, but what is things in

Other Google ideas (1)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310412)

With all the stuff Google have gotten into, porn is probably the next logical venture, the service could be called Google Oogle.

Google is not the first to provide such perks. (1)

andreyw (798182) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310426)

One word: Microsoft.

Re:Google is not the first to provide such perks. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18310500)

Microsoft has shuttles for traveling between MS-owned buildings, but the shuttles will not take you home.

(The Microsoft campus spans Redmond, Bellevue, Kirkland, and Issaquah. The shuttles are nessessary when you work with other teams.)

- A MS employee

Re:Google is not the first to provide such perks. (2, Interesting)

mindsuck (607395) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310578)

Here in Buenos Aires IBM does the same thing, as well as shuttles from and to some urban areas.

I'm guessing similar services are available in other places as well

Re:Google is not the first to provide such perks. (1)

rasteroid (264986) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310696)

IT companies providing transportation has been a common thing in Bangalore for many years as well (decades in the case of establishments in other areas like aircraft maintenance, defense, etc), especially those located in Software Technology Parks. The same thing is true of major call centres. However the main difference in Bangalore is that the Parks tend to be located quite a distance outside the city, so the transportation helps bring commuters out of the city, whereas in the Bay Area the buses help bring employees into the Valley. Also different is in Bangalore you see both luxury buses as well as very ordinary buses bringing employees to work and back home, but not nearly the same level of "luxury" (wireless internet etc) as in the Bay Area. But yes, this concept is not new from Google, and while I don't have the numbers from Bangalore, I wouldn't be surprised to find a much larger scale of the implementation (in terms of number of people transported).

Re:Google is not the first to provide such perks. (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310974)

. Also different is in Bangalore you see both luxury buses as well as very ordinary buses bringing employees to work and back home, but not nearly the same level of "luxury" (wireless internet etc) as in the Bay Area.
Yea, Google's luxury buses aren't pulled by donkeys either.

Great News (4, Interesting)

Cocoshimmy (933014) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310444)

Hopefully this means what the author is suggesting: That in the future a shuttle service will become an essential part of the benefits package offered by large employers. Imagine if other major employers such as Microsoft, Boeing, AMD and others implemented such programs in areas with otherwise high traffic like Seattle, Austin, and of course the SF bay area? It would reduce stress for everyone, alleviate traffic, reduce the demand and price for gas, reduce air pollution (and as a result health care costs), and make people realize that mass transit is a viable option for North America.

Re:Great News (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310610)

Microsoft has done this for more years than Google has been around--sans trendy biodiesel.

MSFT just pays for the bus (1)

melted (227442) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310828)

Any MSFT employee can ride Metro Transit buses for free. There's a "Flex Pass" thing that FTEs get every year from the receptionist. The buses are just regular buses, nothing fancy and in 6 years that I've spent at Microsoft I haven't used one once. Traffic isn't really that bad around there, and I lived 15 minutes away anyway.

Obligatory (4, Funny)

Limecron (206141) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310448)

We don't get French benefits?

Re:Obligatory (1)

Quzak (1047922) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310800)

I would rather Soviet Russia benefits.

Oh my god, wow! (0)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310488)

Google is so perfect and environmentally sound. I mean, that one Party Jet probably uses more fuel than all the savings from the biodeisel busses.

At some point... (4, Interesting)

rindeee (530084) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310568)

...doesn't it become a better idea to simply move Googleplex to a new location that isn't overcrowded, overpriced, etc.? Perhaps (in all seriousness) Google could move the headquarters to a more rural location. Employees could afford to live in mansions? Could drive to work without rush hour, etc. COMMS shouldn't be an issue...just run some fiber. Shoot, Google owns half the dark fiber (exaggerating of course) in the country anyway. Anyway, just thinking out loud.

Re:At some point... (4, Insightful)

ximenes (10) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310624)

Yes, that would be great for working. However, a large part of the allure of working somewhere like Silicon Valley is the non-work components of the area. Actual culture somewhere nearby, other businesses that you like to shop at (or go work at if your job sucks), and so on. Plus Google has a steady stream of employees they can steal from other nearby businesses, and they're near businesses that they want to work with.

This is one reason why Gateway is not located in North Dakota anymore. This is why technology companies in particular all seem to clump together in a few locations. The companies themselves find value in it, and their employees (being generally well-educated and to a degree able to be more selective than some other industries) want to live in places that they actually like rather than, lets say, North Dakota.

Re:At some point... (1)

morgret (1072856) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310686)

Would people move to a location that isn't overcrowded and overpriced? That location might have less favorable weather, fewer resources, no Fry's Electronics down the road, a lack of high-caliber universities, etc. Do you think Google would have as many people wanting to work for it if the headquarters were in North Dakota? From a green standpoint, Google is being kind to the community. They take people out of their individual cars, their buildings are re-used (old SGI buildings), they're putting in solar, etc. Moving headquarters to a new community that is not overcrowded and overpriced may mean building entirely new buildings, having many more people drive to work, and having a significant impact on the resources and environment. If the headquarters were to move, what impact would it have on the local economy? Already I wonder about the North Carolina deal, where Google will be paying significantly more than the average salary. I'm sure that will have an impact on housing prices. What happens when you bring thousands of workers into a new community? Will that community stay uncrowded and low-priced?

Re:At some point... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18310786)

The genesis of the Google Shuttle was in a group of progressive-thinking employees living in the city of San Francisco who disliked the social costs and the personal frustration of driving vehicles all the way to Mountain View every day, but found the existing mass transit options inconvenient considering the nature and hours of their work.

The program was later extended to other Bay Area communities. It is a way of coping with the downsides of commuting to work through metropolitan congestion, while still being able to maintain the benefits of living in vibrant, densely populated and creative city like San Francisco. Moving the company to a rural area would mean losing access to those creative people, which would be bad for the Google culture.

Shuttle Rider.

Re:At some point... (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310964)

Yes...and 80% of their employees would not follow, but would instead take jobs at Yahoo.

Interesting Side Note: Neil's Son (4, Interesting)

dancingmad (128588) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310572)

As an interesting side note, the Michael Gaiman they quote is the son of author Neil Gaiman [neilgaiman.com] (The Sandman, Neverwhere, American Gods, etc.). I read the article and was surprised, because Neil mentioned his son choosing Google over Apple a month or two back on his blog. Sure enough, visited his blog after reading it and it is indeed him.

stock options? (1)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310818)

You don't think the best perk might be say... the hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock options employees received pre-IPO? If you gave some employs the choice between these additional perks vs. the true cost in cash, I bet you'd find many people choosing the cash instead. Besides, my guess is some Google employees use these services disproportionately to others.

I don't want perks (5, Insightful)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310888)

Am I the only person who doesn't want perks? I want three things from work: the ability to do my job, more pay, and less time there. If an employer wants to show their appreciation, they can increase my pay, let me work fewer hours, or both.

I expect an adequate computer, comfortable chair, comfortable desk, and a private cubicle/office. Those are things that help me focus on getting my job done. I don't consider them perks, I consider them mandatory for getting work done.

Besides that, I want to have as little to do with my employer as possible. I don't want a company car, I don't want a company shuttle, I don't want a company apartment, I don't want free food, I don't want free beverages. I want to work my 40-45 hours a week, then go home and forget about work completely.

Re:I don't want perks (0, Redundant)

ximenes (10) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310914)

Exactly.

Some of the perks these companies provide might be useful; but I don't want to live my life as some have suggested: living in a corporate apartment, getting to work with corporate transportation, eating at the corporate cafeteria three times a day. From there its a short step in my mind to the return of the company store and the sort of employee dependencies upon that particular company that can easily change into a very bad thing.

Pay me enough to make my own way in the world when I'm not at work. Thats all I want.

This could attract some extra talent (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18310892)

There are people (I knw this is unbelievable to the average american) that can't drive a car, for example I can't. For that reason I avoided seeking a job in the USA. Well, looks like Google could be a potential employer.
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