Google Loses Nearly 250 Employee Bicycles a Week

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Google Loses Nearly 250 Employee Bicycles a Week

The report claims that nearly 250 of the 1,100 multicoloured bicycles go missing every week.

The tech-giant maintains a fleet of around 1,100 colourful bicycles with yellow frames, red baskets and green and blue wheels (Google's colours) known as "Gbikes" for employees to move about the serene Mountain View campus.

Google has attempted to slow its Gbike loss rate by installing Global Positioning System trackers (which showed they were being taken as far as Mexico) and is planning to lock the bikes with an app. Free-to-ride campus bikes might have sounded great in Google's utopian early days, but that's at odds with a reality where people will routinely borrow or steal anything that isn't nailed down. However, according to company estimates, between 100 and 250 of them go missing every week. The bikes are said to often end up at places like schools, taverns, and in one case, the Burning Man event in Nevada.

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The company recently equipped about a third of its 1,100 bikes with Global Positioning System trackers, which revealed that the two-wheelers take an average 12 trips and travel six miles a day.

The company has now employed a team of 30 contractors and five vans whose job is to retrieve the GBikes.

The programme has now been adapted by more than 16 companies across the United States including biggies such as Facebook, Apple and Walmart. They carry waders and grappling hooks for pulling the bikes out of a creek. Or should "borrowed from Google" be the right way to put it? The Google buses have been the target of protests in San Francisco, as a kind of proxy for income inequality and rising rents that have been blamed on the tech boom. These bikes allow employees to travel around the Mountain View headquarters quickly and easily. But it still reflects, in the words of one local speaking to the Journal, a sense among residents that "Google owes them somehow, someway". Between July to November 2017, Google recovered about 170 to 190 bikes a week - about two-thirds of the ones that went missing.

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Still, Google isn't entirely sure how many bikes it loses outright.

When Google installed Global Positioning System 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.

Now, Google is considering to lock the bikes which can be unlocked only by apps on smartphones of its employees.

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Google changed Silicon Valley with its free company bikes that help employees get across its giant corporate campus.

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