Google Is Searching for Its Lost Company Bikes

Google has manufactured an enormous business sorting out the world’s data, however it’s having a ton of inconvenience monitoring its own bikes.

Google keeps up approximately 1,100 free, diverse bikes, known as Gbikes, for its representatives to get around on its sprawling grounds here. The program has enlivened copycats crosswise over Silicon Valley and past.

In any case, Google’s bicycles reliably disappear from its grounds—in the vicinity of 100 and 250 seven days, the organization gauges. The bicycles have appeared at nearby schools, in neighbors’ yards, at the base of the town rivulet and on the top of O’Malley’s Sports Pub. One turned up in a TV plug for the beautifying agents mark Garnier; a Google worker saw it when it circulated.

The vanishings regularly aren’t crafted by customary hoodlums, be that as it may. Numerous occupants of Mountain View, a city of 80,000 that has successfully turned into Google’s organization town, see the worker liven as a group benefit.

“It resembles a well disposed signal,” said Sharon Veach, a 68-year-old inhabitant who rides the bicycles a few times each week. “They don’t generally need us to utilize it, yet it’s OK in the event that you do.” Ms. Veach said that when a bicycle is accessible at the prepare station she rides it 10 minutes to her home, and afterward keeps it overnight behind her entryway. The following morning, she rides it back to the station, where she gets the prepare to her activity at Google equal Oracle Corp. “You know, I lease it for a day.”

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Even Mountain View Mayor Ken Rosenberg admits he once rode a Gbike to go see a movie after a meeting on Google’s campus.

Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., can afford it. It won’t say what it pays for its bikes, which have yellow frames, red baskets and green and blue wheels. But such cruisers typically cost $100 to $300, meaning even losing a hundred or so a week would be barely a bump in the road for a company sitting on more than $100 billion of cash.

Still, Google is trying to slow the losses. Late last year, it started adding GPS trackers to the bikes, which revealed thieves were taking them as far as Mexico and Fairbanks, Alaska. (The bikes have previously been spotted in the snow in New England and the dust at Burning Man, the arts festival in the Nevada desert.)

After resisting locks for years, believing they would inconvenience employees, Google is testing versions that employees could unlock with their smartphones.

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And a team of 30 Google contractors in five vans retrieve Gbikes across the region. After a spate of bikes in the town creek, they now carry waders and grappling hooks to fish them out.

While the Gbikes have small signs that instruct riders to leave them at Google and call a hotline if found off campus, the company’s stance isn’t always clear. “My daughter came home from third grade and asked me, ‘Are we supposed to be riding these or not?’ ” said Jeral Poskey, a Google transportation executive.

Valued at more than $100 billion, Google has the coin to replace missing bikes. But its laissez-faire approach to company bike share may soon change: Reportedly, it has engineers working on a setup where employees would unlock the bikes with their smartphones. If that happens, the mayor of Mountain View might have to find a new bike for his spins to the movies.

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