Google's Got Goats! - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
5/1/2009
01:54 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
Commentary
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
4 Keys to Improving Security Threat Detection
Dec 15, 2016
In this webinar, Ixia will show how to combine the four keys to improving security threat detectio ...Read More>>

Google's Got Goats!

When not organizing all the world's information and making it universally accessible, Google can often be found not doing evil, in keeping with its unofficial motto.

When not organizing all the world's information and making it universally accessible, Google can often be found not doing evil, in keeping with its unofficial motto.The company's latest avoidance of evil takes the form of a hircine employment project: Hiring goats to cut the grass on the grounds of its corporate headquarters.

"At our Mountain View headquarters, we have some fields that we need to mow occasionally to clear weeds and brush to reduce fire hazard," explained Dan Hoffman, Google's director of real estate and workplace services in a blog post on Friday. "This spring we decided to take a low-carbon approach: Instead of using noisy mowers that run on gasoline and pollute the air, we've rented some goats from California Grazing to do the job for us."

Google's low-carbon approach provides a free meal to its unpaid workforce and free soil fertilization. Unfortunately, it doesn't save the company much money -- Hoffman says it costs about as much as hiring people to do the work. But perhaps omitted from that calculation is the public relations value in goat outsourcing and saving the planet.

If Google keeps this up, someone might accuse the company of doing good rather than not doing evil.

But Google's goats may not save the air quite to the extent that the company suggests: Goats, like other animals, contribute to climate change through front-end and back-end emissions of carbon dioxide and methane, among other gases.

Yes, I know it's preferable to engine exhaust. But Frisbee on Google's lawn just isn't nearly as fun when you have to watch where you step.

At the same time, I have to wonder whether it wouldn't be better to grill the goats -- goats, meet fire hazard! -- and serve them to California's unemployed, who'd probably cut the company a good deal on grass-cutting.

Or Google could just let the grass grow wild around its headquarters. Sure, company employees might have to use a machete to clear a path from parking lot to office door, but think of the cardio benefits of that kind of aerobic activity.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll