I visited the Googleplex today.
The big one, in Mountain View.
It’s a lot bigger than I thought.
In fact, it’s so big, it’s no mystery why Google has a boatload of those colourful Google Bikes all over campus. If Googlers had to walk from one building to another, they’d waste hours every day.
I also saw a Google Self-Driving Car. It was driving around the Shoreline Amphitheater parking lot, which is next to the Googleplex. It didn’t crash — at least not while I was watching.
One thing I hadn’t realised about those cars is that the camera thing on top actually whirls around at high speed, like a ship’s radar antenna on steroids. And that makes sense. Because, as I understand it, the cars do “see,” in part, by radar.
I saw a Google soccer field.
I saw roaming packs of Googlers.
And I saw at least a dozen Google buses.
Those things are huge.
They’re double-deckers (at least some of them). They have destination-names on the front, just like public buses. Judging by the random sampling I saw in only a few minutes, they seem to go pretty much everywhere:
* Noe Valley (a hipster area of San Francisco)
* Hayes (another hipster area of San Francisco — I lived there a thousand years ago, when I was a writing a crappy book about a year I spent teaching English in Japan. It wasn’t a good book. I wrote in the mornings and then taught tennis in the afternoon to pay the bills…)
* Santa Cruz (a city)
* Berkeley (a city)
The Google buses were floating by all over the Googleplex. They have bike racks on the back. I watched one of them stop outside the YouTube building, where a dozen or so Googlers were waiting (see picture below.)
And I thought, wow, it would be pretty cool to have a bus pick me up in my ‘hood every day and take me to work an hour away — especially a bus with WiFi and a bike rack. And I also thought it would be pretty cool to run a company that was so rich that it could afford to buy buses to pick up the team in their ‘hoods every day and drive them to and from work.
And it would be cool! Even if those buses have become so hated by people in San Francisco who aren’t lucky enough to work at Google that some of them made a Google Bus pinata.
Don’t get me wrong — inequality sucks. It’s one of the biggest problems facing our country. And we have to figure out a way to address it.
But everyone has to get to work. And if each Google Bus carries 40 Googlers, that’s 40 fewer cars on the roads. That’s less traffic. And less gas consumption. And less pollution. And those things are good for everyone — even people without jobs to commute to.
So here’s to Google and their Google buses. Maybe someday Business Insider can get some!
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