Now Google is searching: Where are our bicycles disappearing?
California, January 08: The Internet service giant Google, which promises to build ‘secure’ browsers and keep user data safe apparently is unable to protect the bicycles inside its campus from thieves. The company loses up to 250 bicycles every week from Googleplex, the corporate headquarters complex of the company at Mountain View.
The company maintains about 1,110 bicycles, it is called GBikes, in Google theme colors — yellow frames, red baskets, and green and blue wheels are provided for its employees to get around its sprawling campus.
The GBikes which are leased by local residents as well as employees of the company end up at local schools, in neighbors’ lawns, at the bottom of the town creek and on the roof of a sports pub.
“The disappearances often aren’t the work of ordinary thieves, however. Many residents of Mountain View, a city of 80,000 that has effectively become Google’s company town, see the employee perk as a community service,” the Wall Street Journal reported on January 5.
When Google installed GPS devices on a third of the GBikes and tracked their movement, the internet giant found that thieves were taking them as far as Mexico and Fairbanks, Alaska, said the report.
Google has hired as many as 30 contractors and five vans armed with waders and grappling hooks to recover the bikes. However, the company has not been able to retrieve all of them as yet.
As per the report, Google recovers between 70 and 190 bikes a week, or roughly two-thirds of the GBikes reported off campus. The company, though, has no concrete idea how many bikes it has lost outrightly.
Now, Google is considering to lock the bikes which can be unlocked only by apps on smartphones of its employees.
Google was the first company in Silicon Valley to start corporate bike programme. The initiative has been followed by at least 16 other companies in the United States, including at Apple, Facebook, and Walmart.