Instead of busing to the Googleplex, local engineers can save anywhere from an hour to two hours a day that would have otherwise been spent on the road.

Thomas Claburn, Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

October 11, 2007

2 Min Read

For Google's San Francisco-based employees, one of the company's greatest perks is the Wi-Fi-enabled Bauer buses that pick up workers in the city and drive them to the company's Mountain View headquarters.

But recently, Googlers in San Francisco got an even better benefit: working locally and saving anywhere from an hour to two hours a day that would have otherwise been spent on the road, even if being chauffeured in a comfy shuttle with an Internet connection falls short of a road-rage inducing commute.

Google keeps evil in check in its new San Francisco office.

At the beginning of the month, Google opened an office in San Francisco at 345 Spear St. in the Hills Plaza complex, which was constructed for the Hills Brothers Coffee Co.

Though it lacks the greenery of Google's Mountain View headquarters (not to mention the T-Rex skeleton), the new office nonetheless advances Google's green environmental efforts: Keeping Bay Area workers off the freeways benefits the environment and every Bay Area driver sentenced to commute.

Google S.F. lacks the architectural adventurousness exhibited by many San Francisco-based tech startups during the dot-com boom at the turn of the millennium, back when cutting-edge design took precedence over a business plan. But Google S.F. at least has balloons and a to-die-for view of the Bay Bridge. (How can you not enjoy a space with balloons?)

Google S.F. houses both advertising sales personnel and engineers. "We haven't finalized the number yet, but there is a mix of departments and roles here," said a Google spokeswoman in an e-mail. "The office is significant to Google as we have many users, employees, advertisers, and publishers here, and it is an important base for recruiting. We are happy to have a presence in the city that will allow us be more responsive to customer needs and cut down commute times for many of our employees."

In keeping with the company's "Don't be evil" motto, there's a sign posted in the office that says, "Engineers: Don't be evil. If you use distcc, add your own machine to the pool!" Given the havoc that evil engineers can wreak, any such reminder is probably a good idea.

(Distcc is a program that accelerates software compilation by distributing the workload to all the machines running it on the network.)

About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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