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Google Businesses IT

Google's New Campus Will Open Its Restaurants To The Public (recode.net) 76

Google's new 18-acre campus will feature a 595,000-square foot building for 2,400 employees, most of them engineers -- and its bottom floor will be open to the public. An anonymous reader quotes Recode: People will be able to walk through the middle of the building, where they can shop in retail stores and dine at cafes also frequented by Googlers... A summary of plans from Google also describes spaces for workshops and demonstrations of new technologies such as virtual reality. Visitors might encounter a pop-up store devoted to virtual reality or demonstrations of smart-home devices made by Alphabet subsidiary Nest, according to the spokesperson... This is the first time Google has built a campus from the ground up...

Generally speaking, Bay Area tech companies have tended to of cut their workplaces off from the communities surrounding them. Employees take private buses to their campuses, and stay on-site for non-work activities like meals in private cafeterias and exercise classes. Google offers similar amenities to its employees, but makes its open, grassy areas open to anyone.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Google's new building will be "shaped to resemble a puffy white cloud, with solar panels on the roof... The campus also will have a plaza where the public can soak in performances."
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Google's New Campus Will Open Its Restaurants To The Public

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  • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Saturday March 18, 2017 @02:41PM (#54066299)

    I work in SF, I'll keep the name safe, for a company who does not provide food perks. The reason they don't is that it destroys local businesses. I was not really sure about the impact until Google opened an office not far away. The bottom floors of most buildings in SF are local restaurants. Within a few months of Google opening with free food for their employees, the bottom of the building was vacant. Hundreds of jobs lost, from cooks and restaurant workers to food delivery and cleaning services.

    Not that Google cares mind you, as is obvious with this new deal.

    The populace does not need this, and it creates a public dependence on Google. So much for the small guy and competition.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Just the free market working as intended. Get over it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But those Google employees still eat, right? Meaning somebody cooks for them, cleans, etc. In other words, the jobs moved elsewhere, that's all.

      • by slew ( 2918 )

        But those Google employees still eat, right? Meaning somebody cooks for them, cleans, etc. In other words, the jobs moved elsewhere, that's all.

        Of course when we eliminate all public jobs, we can all work for the communist state (or the company store, take your pick). It might be more efficient, but not the command economy world I want to live in... Basically Google is unintentionally walmart-ing a food mono-culture, is that how we want to live?

        Also, and this isn't often brought up, but giving a untaxed fringe lunch benefit to their employees, Google is circumventing taxes by eliminating sales tax (that would be collected by local businesses) and

        • Hewitt did this for years. It's called treating employees well. It may or may not be a tax benefit, but tons of other companies have done this before. Wtf Slashdot?

        • Except Google, unlike a communist state or Walmart, pays better than restaurants do... including as part of the compensation package stock options that have made multimillionaires out of their chefs. People who make more money also pay more income tax. I'm not going to guess at the numbers, but that would at least partially mitigate the "ZOMG they're not paying sales tax at the restaurants" hit; especially considering that income tax is mandatory where the sales tax could be averted by bringing lunch (pre

    • Google opened an office, and because they provided free food for their employees who used to work in other places, local restaurants closed?

      • by sdinfoserv ( 1793266 ) on Saturday March 18, 2017 @03:33PM (#54066525) Homepage
        Don't think for a second the food is "free" : Google is retaining their staff on premise - less chance of someone eavesdropping on a call / conversation or shoulder surfing a laptop. Staff members continue to work over lunch since they're on the campus anyway and can have meetings while eating. Also offering dinner allows (encourages) staffers to put in longer hours not having to run out for meals. No, this is strictly an efficiency / security decision by the corporate overlord.
        • Free, gratis, or even if the employees had to pay, it doesn't matter to the dynamics of the local restaurant market. What matters is that a new corporate office opened up, presumably bringing new employees, but it doesn't make sense for these new employees eating in the building where they work to cause the local restaurants to close.

          • by s.petry ( 762400 )

            I'm not sure if you know how a city works, but buildings already exist. "Opening an Office" means that you take over as the lease holder for floors in a building. Google took over occupancy of the building which killed the local market. The prior tenant did not provide gratis food, which meant that the bottom floor was busy with restaurants and small shops.

            Google does not come in and buy up the restaurants or retain the employees. They put the shops out of business, and if they happen to need workers in

        • Wish I had mod points. Google isn't doing this for the benefit of anyone except Google.
          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            Don't go unless you want to be a lab rat, I mean that seriously, the intention is as invasive as fuck. All behaviours, conversations, meal choices, menu and meal changes (tweaking meals for reactions), monitored and recorded, it is who they are.

          • I am going to use Charles Babbage's quote here:

            I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.

            In this case the idea being that Google for some reason would do something that would benefit somebody else other than Google, the company. Where do such notions originate exactly?

    • Many of these large campuses are in places where it really isn't very convenient to go outside for lunch. Usually because they're a bit outside the main downtown areas, and nothing good is within walking distance. (Parking is usually enough of a hassle that no one wants to leave by car just to get lunch.) This is definitely the case for the Facebook campus, and may also be the case for the main Google campus.

      That being said, I've also had the opportunity to work directly in Downtown Mountain View. There wer

      • by s.petry ( 762400 )
        Selective reading. I gave the example of a SF office and impact on local restaurants. Google's campus is not far from Mountain View's downtown with many dozens of restaurants. It will impact them too.
        • by Octorian ( 14086 )

          For an office in downtown SF, I definitely agree with your point. Encouraging employees to go outside the office for lunch is a good thing.

          But Google's Mountain View office is several miles away from downtown Mountain View. Its too far to walk (in a reasonable amount of time), and I really don't think you want any notable percentage of Google's workforce driving between their campus and the downtown area at lunch time. Parking would be a nightmare on both ends, and the roads would clog up enough that walkin

    • I've worked at several places with restaurants. The thing is, they tend to be whoever *paid* the most for the privilege to be there to get a big captive audience.

      So the on-campus food tends to be overpriced, low quality, so people tend to go off campus.

      Would be great to actually make the campus space available to outside businesses and customers, to save employees the drive to go somewhere.

      • by slew ( 2918 )

        I've worked at several places with restaurants. The thing is, they tend to be whoever *paid* the most for the privilege to be there to get a big captive audience.

        So the on-campus food tends to be overpriced, low quality, so people tend to go off campus.

        Would be great to actually make the campus space available to outside businesses and customers, to save employees the drive to go somewhere.

        As a practical matter, I doubt there will be many outside customers (other than "tourists"). If parking at Google's current campus is any indication, there will be no place for outside customers to park (which will deter many folks from even attempting it). I'm guessing it's mostly a "ruse" to keep the current employees of Google to stop inviting their friends for a "free" meal an going forware most non-vendor/customer guests will be only invited to lunch as paying customers...

    • I don't see how there were "hundreds of jobs lost". Google had to hire "cooks and restaurant workers to food delivery and cleaning services" to do this, didn't they?
    • I was just thinking that I hope the locals like Curry.
    • by Steffan ( 126616 )

      > Within a few months of Google opening with free food for their employees, the bottom of the building was vacant

      I'm a bit skeptical...The restaurants were doing fine *before* Google opened up, and then suddenly all of their existing customers went away?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's a "tech" company so we the penguin fucking Linux lovers of Slashdot are obligated to cheer when the billionaire oligarchs take what we gave them for free and use free open source software to fuck over the world. Praise Google, which takes from us and gives us shit in return.

  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Saturday March 18, 2017 @02:52PM (#54066347)

    Generally speaking, Bay Area tech companies have tended to of cut their workplaces off from the communities surrounding them.

    Does this have a measurable advantage/merit?

    I can think of one maybe: Small chance of [trade or intellectual] secrets "leaking" out.

    • Not just Silicon Valley. Almost everywhere I've worked since the 80s, the work place is not near what one would call normal restaurants. Most cubical farms, labs, and manufacturing areas are not located in dense urban hubs. Within walking distance it's either a grubby corporate cafeteria, an overcrowded sandwich place squeezed in among the warehouses, or a roaming roach coach. So the majority of workers who didn't bring in their lunches got in their cars and drove elsewhere. This is a big loss of productiv

    • by kqs ( 1038910 )

      Does this have a measurable advantage/merit?

      Several:
      * Walking to a cafe in the next building and eating with co-workers is much faster than walking/driving to a restaurant some distance away. Plus employees tend to talk shop over lunch. => more working hours per day.
      * The company has some control over the food served, and can encourage healthier eating. => lower health care costs
      * For large campuses, the surrounding area simply cannot absorb that many people for lunch.

  • ... open to anyone.

    So, like hobos living in tents?

  • What language is that?

    Perhaps you meant "tended to have cut off"

    You call yourself an editor?   No wonder I  have so little regard for you soft skilled types.
    • Good catch!

      I object to the use of the word "campus". If "information technology" is called an industry, then Google's place of business would correctly be called an industrial complex.

      I know that language is constantly changing, but please!
  • Then replace the guest workers with directly-hired citizens and all shall be well.

  • If I buy something, will I be able to use cash and remain (relatively) anonymous or will I have to use Google Wallet?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That Bring Free Stuff.

  • Come on Alphabet, are you competing with Apple for the title of world's most ugly megacorp hq? Tent slum vs giant hubcap.

  • I once worked for a Fortune-500 company that had a public shopping mall compete with a food court in bottom floors of its office complex. I brown-bagged since I was too cheap to pay mall-food prices.

    Later, in another city, I worked for a different Fortune-500 company that had a several cafeterias around its sprawing campus. The food was about what you would get at a family restaurant with prices slightly below retail. I ate in the cafeteria almost every day.

  • Are you going to stop supporting this restaurant service in the middle of my meal so I starve?
    At this point I just don't see Google as a reliable company. For anything. Except for gathering and selling as much of my personal data as possible.

  • I wonder if Google seriously trained their engineers so that they do not discuss sensitive project during lunch, since there are now many potential listeners at the next table.

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