back to article Pesky protesters FORCE GOOGLE STAFF INTO THE SEA

Just weeks after Google Buses carrying staff to work were held up and embroiled in anti-gentrification protests by furious Californians, Google has announced a solution. A shiny new boat service to ferry its employees across the Bay from San Francisco to Redwood City. There's tone deaf, and then there's corporate tone deaf. …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Oh for f**k's sake....

    OK, we have reached the limits of human envy that I can tolerate. Targeting corporate commuter buses is not going to do anything to resolve the issues of gentrification or lack of housing. It's only going to make a further mess of the roads. I am dangerously close to being in favor of breaking out the water cannons/tear gas/cattle prods/Rottweilers and turning them loose on the protestors.

    In the meantime, I would like Google to issue their nautical-enabled employees fetching navy-colored blazers and little captain's caps, plus offer on-deck all-you-can-drink mimosas as the "Triumphant" cruises just offshore of the frothy-mouthed protestors.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh for f**k's sake....

      "Leave NOW evil corporate overlords."

      "We want affordable property values again."

      "Like Detroit."

      "Oh, wait......"

    2. Grogan

      Re: Oh for f**k's sake....

      Protesters who obstruct or disrupt transportation or communications SHOULD be forcefully disbanded. I have absolutely no tolerance for that. Go to the government buildings and protest (as is your democratic right), but don't get in my fucking way.

      Around here, the "gentrification" is two fold. The elite buses ferry high paid employees to a nuclear plant in the area. The lowest of employees (e.g. janitorial) make ridiculously high wages there and the area's economy (and rent) is geared towards it. Worse than that, are all the rich city fuckers coming up here and paying (in some cases) millions of dollars for real estate, which inflates property values. (Most of those people are snobs that I truly despise, too) That's just the way it is, complaining about it won't help.

      I generally don't like activism. It seldom changes anything, because activists always seek to go after people who have nothing to do with their problems. The politicians just sit there in their ivory towers, unhindered.

      1. Mark .

        Re: Oh for f**k's sake....

        "get in my fucking way."

        Though, isn't this the entire problem in the first place, private buses in the way of the public's bus stops?

        Although judging by the plans to charge companies a minimal amount, it seems the issue is it's entirely legal to use public bus stops in California. If they did things the way that many cities did, making it illegal to park on spaces reserved for public buses, this would be dealt with by handing out fines.

        Vandalism isn't a good thing, but nor is there a god given right to use public bus stops and so on in a private vehicle, no matter how much it makes sense for the passengers. Two wrongs don't make a right.

        Note that we don't actually know what other efforts activists are making, it's just that the bus protest received international news coverage, whilst everything else gets ignored.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh for f**k's sake....

      Mr. Marketing Hack, you are welcome to have your own opinion and to express it, but when you go off on a macho-man bullying tirade like that, you are not exactly going to get much sympathy either. And besides, you're just another cog in the wheel so just what business of yours this is I don't know.

      I do not support picketing (which this may be--certainly the window smashing at least) because it relies on intimidating fellow individuals, but otherwise people have every right to protest against whatever issues they have a problem with. That right is not exercised nowhere often enough these days in so-called developed societies.

      You may want to take a hint from either Google themselves or from then-president Clinton during the Seattle protests back in the 90s. Both are clever enough to avoid confrontation unlike your, frankly childish and stupid, ideas.

      And by the way, fuck is spelled with a 'u' and a 'c' in between the first and last letters, not with asterisks. If you're going to use a vulgarism, please use it properly.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh for f**k's sake....


        Hey, I am fine with reasonable, effective protests. Busting up commuter buses is neither of these. If people are getting priced out of neighborhoods (which they are) then show up at the planning commission and protest for more or lower cost housing, go to the city council and insist on housing allowances or low-income housing set asides. Picket an apartment building being converted to hoa/condos (the one way for a landlord to get out of rent control in SF is to turn from a renting to an ownership model). Place banners on highway overpasses, picket commercial/luxury construction sites that could fit more homes.

        DO NOT attack commuter buses because the people in them "make too much money" or "aren't from around here". That's just crass intimidation to either shake down employers or scare techie outsiders "out of the hood". And it has about as much to do with the root issue of high cost of housing as throwing rocks at some guy's BMW has to do with lowering the high price of bread.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oh for f**k's sake....

          > @AC


          > Hey, I am fine with reasonable, effective protests.

          Ok, your second post is much more measured, so I've upvoted it. I agree with your suggestions therein. I also do not know what shape the bus protests are actually taking so I'm far from taking a position regarding those. It is possible that they are targeting them buses because of the higher publicity value though?

          1. Mark .

            Re: Oh for f**k's sake....

            "It is possible that they are targeting them buses because of the higher publicity value though?"

            Indeed - and furthermore, for all we know, people could be doing all of the sensible things he suggests, but it's only coverage of the disruptive Google protests that gets all the media attention.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The proper course of action

          And when they ignore you at the planning commission?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If they were that community minded

      If they were that community minded they would relocate to Detroit, or even better, to the UK.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Make Way un-washed masses

      Don't get angry when you're faced with the realisation that you really should have paid attention in class.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If they are forced offshore...

    ... does that mean that they can avoid even more tax?

    1. M7S

      Re: If they are forced offshore...

      If the googlemeisters venture out onto the briny deep, will this increase the risk of piracy?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So the unemployed are protesting against the employed while wanton interception of their personal info by their government is rampant.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the American political system.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      You are forgetting a few very interesting schemes about the creation of free money which are very more interesting indeed.

  4. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Oracle boat??

    I know Oracle's in Redwood City too... and I *know* Larry's got a boat already!

    1. ItsNotMe

      Re: Oracle boat??

      "... and I *know* Larry's got a boat already!"'s a SHIP! At 87.78 meters (288 feet)'s a ship.

      1. DropBear

        Re: Oracle boat??

        Psh... but does he have any anchor yachts...?

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Oracle boat??


        That's not Larry's ship! Here's the link you should have posted: link to wiki...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Coming soo to a municipality in the Bay Area

    A 'ferry boat tax' for ferries that only carry employees of a single company.

    I kid you not. My son lives in Redwood City said that this was all over their work yesterday.

    Mind you they think that SF City Council are <redacted>.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Coming soo to a municipality in the Bay Area

      ...followed swiftly by Google giving a lift to one non-Googler to work. :D

  6. JohnG

    Maybe Google should simply move their SF operation to another city where the jobs and associated spending would be welcomed.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Yup. I can assure you that Austin, Texas is one place that would welcome the chocolate factory with open arms. Probably even make a nice offer of tax incentives to move more operations our here. Probably let them use a bit of our high-speed Google fiber as well.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        everything is better in Texas

        2Andy Prough - I'd love to see that. Google gets a tax break, SF residents no longer have to put up with all the goo-tards driving up rents and the goo-tards are forced to move to Rick Perry's state and spend their time eating BBQ and listening to songs about infidelity and trucks. There is literally no downside.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: everything is better in Texas

          @Nicho - your post is full of FUD. And lies. And more FUD.

          We don't just have songs about infidelity and our trucks in Texas. We also have songs about our dogs, and about being drunk.

          And we don't just eat BBQ. We also eat fried chicken. And bacon. And pancakes.

          Get your facts straight.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: everything is better in Texas

            > We don't just have songs about infidelity and our trucks in Texas. We also have songs about our dogs, and about being drunk.

            > And we don't just eat BBQ. We also eat fried chicken. And bacon. And pancakes.

            That's it. I'm moving to Texas. :-)

          2. eldel

            Re: bacon

            More to the point - you can even get 'proper' bacon in Austin - unlike the streaky mass produced crap that seems to be endemic elsewhere in the colonies.

            Hmm, now I'm salivating, OK - I know where I'm going for breakfast on Saturday.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: bacon

              @eidel - you only eat bacon for one type of meal on one day of the week ? What strange ritual is this ?

    2. Madboater

      Totally Agree

      If you have a company and you want to relocate the HQ, make it a Tech company, they have a lot less binding them to any particular location. Move to Detroit, Google could simply buy the city.

      1. Tempest 3K

        Re: Totally Agree

        Google could become the RL version of OCP - They probably have plans for something similar to Robocop & ED-209 already anyway....

  7. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Shalmaneser when?

    This sounds more and more like something out of a John Brunner novel.

    I like where this is going.

    1. sandman

      Re: Shalmaneser when?

      Damn you for mentioning Shalmaneser, now I'm going to have to waste a couple of days reading the book again ;-)

  8. heyrick Silver badge


    If that is what they do to an official Google bus, imagine what they could do to a lone Google employee driving to work? This is almost making the case for more buses, perhaps with armour plating...

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Hmmm...

      Like they used to get scabs into work during all the strikes in the 80s?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. DropBear

      Re: Hmmm...

      Ah, but how would they recognize that lone Google employee...? Perhaps by the fact that he's the only one reading a newspaper while "driving" to work...?

  9. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


    When I was house hunting a few years back, I would be trying to negotiate down a price on a house that had obvious undeclared structural damage. It would be major issues like beams of sunlight coming through the roof, a wall buckling from termites, or DIY remodeling gone horribly wrong. Young couples wearing Google T-shirts would then approach the owners and demand to buy on the spot for 15% over asking. One could be angry, or one could feel that the Googlers were getting what they deserved.

    There's nothing left to protest if Google has started paying the city for bus stop maintenance. Stop whining and figure out how to take their money.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Protesters should wake up

    There are probably a lot of Google employees living in SF… But SF has over 800k inhabitants. The rents are not going to go down if Google leaves for Austin.

  11. Rol Silver badge

    If Google were serious about staying...

    ..they'd have constructed a tunnel by now.

    No, they're planning to leave, they're just waiting for the aircon to be fixed in their volcano lair and then they're gone.

    Others suggest it's a Moon crater and they'll just meddle with the Earth by remote cuntrol, which is like remote control, but is operated by a cu...

  12. jake Silver badge

    One wonders what kind of idiots work for google.

    Are they really paying San Francisco fourplex[1] rent prices on SF living space, when they could actually afford to purchase a Palo Alto, Mountain View, Menlo Park & environs single-family dwelling, at the same monthly rate, with almost no commute at all?

    Total, complete, utter idiots, the lot of 'em.

    [1] Aging Victorian, cut into four small living quarters ... ~$3,500/month is common in SF.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One wonders what kind of idiots work for google.

      Not everybody in US wants to live in a suburb, I guess... And the scenery is nicer in SF!

      1. jake Silver badge

        @AC 11:45 (was: Re: One wonders what kind of idiots work for google.)

        "And the scenery is nicer in SF!"

        Maybe, if your world is only 7X7 square miles.

  13. Byz

    I wonder if...

    They are using android phones to organise the protest :D

  14. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    A boat?

    There's something very odd about this story. Redwood City isn't anywhere near MountainView, especially in the morning commute period, and in any case it would be quicker to get there by riding Caltrain than to use a boat from the city. Not as nice as a private boat, of course.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: A boat?

      Commute cats are overall a hell of a lot faster than Caltrain for this kind of thing. I use the Larkspur Ferry on a fairly regular basis when I need to move between the North Bay & the rat-race.

      One wonders why the idiots are pulling into Redwood City instead of Palo Alto ... Oh, yeah, that's right, Palo Alto screwed the pooch when it shut down the harbor a couple decades ago ... There is still a deep(ish) water dock off of Moffett Field on the Mountain View/Sunnyvale boarder. Options are good. But I doubt the idiots grok the reality of the South Bay.

    2. TopOnePercent

      Re: A boat?

      in any case it would be quicker to get there by riding Caltrain than to use a boat from the city.

      IIRC the employees count as clocked on once they connect to the bus/boat network. That may not be the case for Caltran. So while Caltran might be quicker travelling, you'd be travelling on your time, rather than the companies?

  15. localzuk

    Don't like people earning a lot? Tough

    Don't like being low paid? Get back to college, get a degree, and apply for a job. Or, set up your own enterprise. Protests about gentrification due to the increasing wages of the people living there are entirely pointless and are simply jealousy based.

    Improve yourself, don't try to drag others down to your level!

    As others have said, there are other cities who have had the reverse - wages have dropped as businesses have moved out of the area. Meaning the cities are falling apart. There is no 'stable middle'.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Don't like people earning a lot? Tough

      I hope you enjoy being totally unclear on the concept, localzuk.

      Ignorance is bliss.

      1. localzuk

        Re: Don't like people earning a lot? Tough

        Not sure what you mean? The entire concept of a capitalist society is one where economic growth is a necessity for any community to survive. If growth (read: wage increases, more spending, more money being generated) doesn't occur, then communities fall apart (Detroit).

        So, a protest against a company and its employees who are driving economic growth in your community is entirely pointless. It will not help anyone, but will end up harming you as well as the company and community.

        If you have a problem with the inequality in society (which I actually do have a problem with), then take it up with those who can do something about it - the government.

        I stand by my comment - if you don't like your area increasing in cost, you have several choices - earn more (train up, get a better job or set up your own enterprise), or move. Trying to stop the progression simply isn't going to work.

        1. Jon Press

          Re: Don't like people earning a lot? Tough

          The real question is why companies like Google that have developed the technology that specifically enables working from anywhere should be paying so much money to hire and accommodate people in such an expensive central location. And it's not just a case of "why not Detroit?", why be "located" at all?

          This isn't a sign of capitalism working, it's a sign of capitalism not working - unnecessarily inflated costs are a sign of market failure.

          1. localzuk

            Re: Don't like people earning a lot? Tough

            The failure is lack of new accommodation being built, meaning there's not enough to go around and prices go up for existing sites. Which is not usually a failing of capitalism, but a failure of government again - to give permits to build new property.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Don't like people earning a lot? Tough

            Google actually does not like it that people work from home. The company's view is still that to solve a problem, you need many people in a room.

            And really, projects may work with everybody apart, but hackathons still give a big push.

  16. Miek

    This is ridiculous. These tech companies make a concerted effort to lower congestion by providing mass transport for it's numerous workers and the locals go ape. I guess the locals would prefer to see each worker in his or her own car jamming up the roads.

    Let's hope these protesters in the middle of the road don't get in Reginald Denny's way, he 'aint ever gonna stop again.

    1. ratfox

      Wrong view point

      From the protesters point of view, if buses stopped running, Google employees would move out of SF rather than facing the hellish congestion in and out of the city.

      They actually consider the congestion as a feature which keeps rich people from living in SF and driving up prices, so they are angry that the corporate buses are bypassing the congestion.

  17. mfritz0

    Give it about six years

    What's all this fuss about. Don't the people in San Francisco realize that in 5 or 6 years they won't want to live there anyway. The Fukashima Diachi Nuclear meltdown has been running non-stop for now going on three years. In six years living on the west coast will be impossible without major filtration and nuclear radiation curtailment facilities just to stop the radiation from causing cancer. (if it hasn't already.)

  18. cortland

    Rent has ALWAYS been high in SF

    And see here about the whole area:

    In 2002 San Francisco was already an insanity denominated in money. The MEDIAN rent there now is $US3.81/square foot ($US41/square meter) and the median value of owner occupied housing there is over 750,000USD. Google or no Google, it's not going to get cheaper.

    After being laid off in Sonoma County, I accepted an aerospace job in Michigan, where even I could afford to buy a house and an acre of land.

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