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Google Co-Opts Whale-Watching Boat To Ferry Employees

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the now-illegal-to-look-at-whales-without-a-google+-account dept.

Google 373

theodp writes "Purportedly intended to defuse tensions over gentrification that have led to blockades and vandalism of Google's ubiquitous shuttles (video), which make use of public San Francisco bus stops (map), Wired reports that Google is now chartering a ferry to take its workers from SF to Silicon Valley. 'We certainly don't want to cause any inconvenience to SF residents, and we're trying alternative ways to get Googlers to work,' Google explained. Inconveniencing whale-seeking visitors to The Aquarium of the Pacific, however, is apparently not considered evil. After learning that Google had co-opted the $4 million, 83-foot, 150-passenger whale-watching catamaran MV/Triumphant to ferry as few as 30-40 Googlers to work, some expressed concerns on Facebook that Google would be The Grinch That Stole Whale Watching Season (not to worry; the boat's slated to make its 'triumphant' return to Long Beach after Google's '30-day trial')."

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373 comments

Whalewatching (3, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | about 3 months ago | (#45918695)

People in the traffic jams are now able to watch whales getting brought to work by boat.

Re:Whalewatching (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 months ago | (#45919061)

People in the traffic jams are now able to watch whales getting brought to work by boat.

This has me thinking you are talking about whales commuting to work.

How many lanes do they take otherwise? A boat might really be the answer.

Re:Whalewatching (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919131)

People in the traffic jams are now able to watch whales getting brought to work by boat.

I'm willing to wager that the typical Google employee has below average BMI. Just a hunch; but it's full of smart young people and has a notoriously difficult hiring process.

Of course you might have meant "whales" in the casino sense. VCs are kind of like whales; but there won't be VCs on the boats.

Re: Whalewatching (2)

Scowler (667000) | about 3 months ago | (#45919303)

Below average BMI? How is that possible, given all that free junk food that permeates the entire Google campus?? There's a reason that " Googler 15" phrase exists.

Citation Needed (5, Insightful)

pdbogen (596723) | about 3 months ago | (#45918775)

theodp, do you have any source whatsoever to actually back up your assertion that the use of the boat is intended to defuse tension?

And since when is "inconveniencing" tourists by chartering just ONE of the boats "in the fleet" considered evil, as you imply?

Re:Citation Needed (5, Insightful)

Workaphobia (931620) | about 3 months ago | (#45918825)

Apparently if a boat is used for something besides its original purpose, no other boat can ever replace it. You know, cause boats and tasks mate for life.

I'm no free market fanatic, but it's like they're *trying* to misunderstand basic supply and demand.

Re:Citation Needed (5, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | about 3 months ago | (#45918907)

That was my impression too. This sounds like the equivalent of, "a company rented a van for a business trip that a family could have used for sight-seeing."

Re:Citation Needed (0, Troll)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 3 months ago | (#45919169)

Google is being purposefully obtuse here. The buses themselves aren't the problem. The problem is that the cheapest 1brs in SF cost $2800/month. it used to be that gentrification kicked out the poor. Now SF is becoming a city for the 1%, and the 99% can no longer afford to be there. an especially visible target are google and twitter kids in mission who turn a vibrant ethnic neighborhood into Sharon Green in palo alto.

Re:Citation Needed (4, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about 3 months ago | (#45919243)

and I hate to sound harsh but.... so? This is how it is in NYC as well, and most major cities, properties are better taken care of, costs rise and eventually you push yourself out if you are not making enough, so you move a little further outside of the city, get 3X the house for 1/3rd the price and usually are happier in the end anyway. Lets face it, not everyone can live where they want to, I sure as hell dont want to be where I am but I cant afford to move where I do, I dont go running around throwing a hissy fit about it like these clowns in SF though

Re:Citation Needed (4, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | about 3 months ago | (#45919377)

There are some real problems with this, though. The US is fairly unique in that the poor live near city centers, due to urban decay and white flight among other things. Europe usually has the opposite problem - poor concentrated in the suburbs. Poor concentrated anywhere is a bad problem to have. The problem remains that the jobs tend to be closer to the rich people, but now you are making the poor drive cars into the city for work instead of taking the bus or train when they live in an urban area. Access to services is also worse when the poor are forced into a suburban setting - everything is more spread out geographically.

Anyway, it's not Google's fight - but it is a symptom of an unhealthy housing situation. You don't want all the people of means to be completely disconnected from the problems of everyday people.

Re:Citation Needed (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 3 months ago | (#45919439)

I'm sure rent control, impacting the investment to build more apartments, and environmental studies, raising general building costs, and probably plenty of NIMBY snottiness with building approval boards has nothing to do with it.

Re:Citation Needed (1)

s122604 (1018036) | about 3 months ago | (#45919291)

Really?

Wow, as much as I would like to work in the "big leagues" of the tech world, I guess I'm happy to be in flyover country where the mortgage on my 3 bedroom 2.5 bath house is just over 1000 a month.

Re:Citation Needed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919451)

Most Googlers are part of the 99% -- including the ones living in SF.

You needed to earn around $350k/year in 2009 to be in the top 1% (http://www.bankrate.com/finance/taxes/top-1-percent-earn.aspx). It is probably higher now. The vast majority of Googlers joined after the millionaire creating IPO and earn much less than $350k.

Re:Citation Needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919181)

Welcome to Socialism. It's not longer a private van or boat. It's "the people's" boat. Renting it requires proof of need regardless of ability to pay.
Naturally, your leaders are more equal and should have priority on using "the people's" boat.

Re:Citation Needed (1)

theodp (442580) | about 3 months ago | (#45919111)

This was a state of the art whale watching boat christened just lasr July, coincidentally the same week that a bunch of folks from Google and the [Eric] Schmidt Ocean Institute were attending Ocean Exploration 2020 at the Aquarium of the Pacific with some of the world's foremost ocean explorers.

Re:Citation Needed (1)

Workaphobia (931620) | about 3 months ago | (#45919313)

So? That makes me about as mad as when a corporation charters a private jet, when I think of all the people who would've liked to fly in that jet instead. You're really not selling me on the whole "Having nice things is despicable" argument. (Before you call that a strawman, I'll note that you're the one who put this action in the context of google's "Don't be evil" motto.)

Re:Citation Needed (1)

theodp (442580) | about 3 months ago | (#45918879)

From the Wired article linked to in the post: "The move, first reported by local CBS affiliate KPIX, seems aimed at defusing tensions that have led to blockades and vandalism of the ubiquitous shuttles, which make use of public San Francisco bus stops."

Re:Citation Needed (2)

pdbogen (596723) | about 3 months ago | (#45918947)

OK, that's better than nothing; but Wired's unfounded editorializing isn't really a valid source, either. It seems a stretch to believe that Google would be so tone deaf as to think chartering a boat would appease the anti-Gentrification protesters that are taking there angst out on Google.

Re:Citation Needed (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919099)

Google shills out in full-force. The residents don't want you assholes driving up their rents and driving down salaries, plain and simple. Google has the money, why don't you all petition your employer to relocate out in the Central Valley and create a planned community of McMansions for you all? That way, you don't have to deal with "depressing" poor people who should go be poor somewhere else, and you can spend the rest of your boring lives working 120 hours a week in peace and quiet.

If you continue to displace people from their homes, you will have to hire your own police force to guard your buses and ferries, or else there will be kidnappings and firebombings. California's economy ain't gettin' any prettier, and you'd be surprised what a 60 year-old woman could be driven to after she's evicted from her apartment of 20 years because some overpaid asshole kid from Ohio needed a place to stay.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Citation Needed (5, Insightful)

pdbogen (596723) | about 3 months ago | (#45919279)

Interestingly, the residents are a micro version of those same poor displaced whale-watchers. What's happening to them is a free market economy. They rent an asset owned by someone else. That owner has an unarguable right to seek the best return on their investment: It is greatly in their interest to rent their property for as much money as they can.

Why aren't you angry at the landlords for raising rents and using the Ellis act to evict people? That's not Google's fault. Google isn't driving people out; they're just paying their employees well and adapting to their needs (in this case, providing a shuttle from SF to Redwood, since a number of employees live in SF).

Why aren't you angry at the city for not issuing housing permits for more economic high-density housing? (http://www.theatlanticcities.com/housing/2013/10/san-francisco-exodus/7205/) Google isn't the one that lobbied and protested to keep the 120-year-old Victorian your 60-year-old woman lives in intact, instead of replacing it with a highrise.

Sure, it sucks that the place you lived forever is changing in ways you don't like. It sucks that residents' NIMBY-esque actions to stop that change turned out worse for them in the long run, because someone came along that's willing and able to pay more for your space than they are, and they resisted the kind of development that would've helped to make enough space for everyone.

If you don't want to be driven from "your" rented home, you have to own the place you live. If you can't afford to own it but you can afford to rent it, that means you're living in a kind of bubble: Your landlord thinks the land is worth more than what you're paying, meaning they think they can get more rent for it later, meaning at some point or another the occupant will be paying what the owner wants, whether the occupant is you or someone working for a startup that's getting paid five times what you get paid. It's a free market, and shit like this happens.

Re: Citation Needed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919145)

You guys are on this ine like flies on shit. You wouldn't be sleeper accounts owned by Google's PR dept., would you?

Don't be ebil!

Re: Citation Needed (5, Insightful)

pdbogen (596723) | about 3 months ago | (#45919193)

Yes, clearly my slashdot account with excellent karma in good standing for ten years is a Google PR sock puppet.

I have a bias, just like others do. But, as it happens, I live in the city, work for a tech company in the city, and walk to work. I don't use the Google shuttle, I don't personally care what happens to it, but it's simple fact that the Google shuttle isn't the problem, isn't the cause of the problem, and isn't even a symptom of the problem; the protesters have simply selected it as a symbol.

Re:Citation Needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919033)

The bias comes to you courtesy of KPIX, which is an affiliate of CBS, which is controlled by Sumner Redstone. Media outlets only serve to disseminate the bias of the entities that own them.

Re:Citation Needed (3, Informative)

AJH16 (940784) | about 3 months ago | (#45919241)

Particularly since they are using it in the off-season to keep the boat in use year round. Whales are in Hawaii now.

Re:Citation Needed (2)

mspohr (589790) | about 3 months ago | (#45919323)

Whale watching season is over for the year.
It was great in November and we did see a few driving down the coast in December but they've gone to Baja and they won't be back until spring.

Moronic. (4, Insightful)

t0qer (230538) | about 3 months ago | (#45918777)

So instead of peacefully letting the tech workers board somewhat environmentally friendly busses that are subjected to stringent emissions regulations, they harass google and others to the point where they have to ride a boat with NO emissions regulations to and from work? Not to mention the fuel economy of boat vs wheels is horrible.

Its about the bus stops ... (1, Informative)

perpenso (1613749) | about 3 months ago | (#45919139)

I think the issue is that Google is using city bus stops without permission. In other words appropriating a public asset for private use. And possibly impacting the performance of a city service, have city buses had to wait while the google shuttle cleared the stop?

If Google were picking up its employees somewhere else there would probably be no controversy.

Re:Its about the bus stops ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919367)

I think the issue is that Google is using city bus stops without permission. In other words appropriating a public asset for private use.

Don't Google employees subsidize the public transit system with tax payments?

It seems a little extreme to refuse them access to something they help pay for and own in common with everyone.

Re:Its about the bus stops ... (3, Insightful)

Paco103 (758133) | about 3 months ago | (#45919411)

Is there a law against using the bus stops? (I don't live there, I truly don't know.)

I get that we're saying they're for public buses, but how are they "specifically" for public buses any more than the roads are only for public transport? Just because no other buses have used it before? It seems to me a bus stop is simply a short term stopping point for drop offs and pick ups that happens to be large enough for buses and sometimes have benches or shelters for people. Private traffic impacts the performance of all kinds of city services. It can slow down fire trucks, ambulances (not always city services, where I live they are privately owned and operated). Some cities deal with these by putting in emergency lanes that actually do have laws that enforce nobody else using them, but unless that law exists for the bus stop I don't see a problem here. Either add more bus stops or enlarge existing ones due to usage patterns, or pass a law (if it's not already passed) stating that the stops are only for publicly operated city buses and then fine accordingly.

Two Sides (1)

TechNeilogy (2948399) | about 3 months ago | (#45918795)

I wonder how the whales feel about this?

Re:Two Sides (2)

sconeu (64226) | about 3 months ago | (#45919001)

They're all for it. Google is actually *ENHANCING* their privacy, as they no longer have to worry about those pesky humans watching their every move.

Re:Two Sides (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919165)

Actually, most whales are for it. The problem is none of the pervy whales spoke up to admit they like it when people watch them.

Transportation is evil (3, Insightful)

Workaphobia (931620) | about 3 months ago | (#45918799)

> Inconveniencing [whale watchers] is apparently not considered evil.

I don't understand what anyone involved in this debacle wants google to do. Cease to exist? Develop transporter technology? In general, complaints about gentrification seem ridiculous. You can't complain about rich people outbidding you for your home any more than you can about immigrants stealing your jobs. What do you want, an act of congress to protect your economic niche? Hope you have a lobby.

Re:Transportation is evil (4, Interesting)

pdbogen (596723) | about 3 months ago | (#45918987)

The protesters basically want Google employees to leave San Francisco and stop causing rents to go up. They are angry at Google for making it easier for the employees to live here. The better pay means landlords can charge higher rents, and the landlords are using a loophole (the Ellis act) to evict residents that have been there longer, which usually means (due to rent control) they're paying less.

It's not even an economic niche. It's an island that's being overtaken by rising tides, and the field mouse on the island are protesting the schools of fish that are taking up residence.

Re: Transportation is evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919229)

It's a case of gentrification, a well documented social problem that has been studied and worked at changing for years, even decades. By "disassembling" it, by describing it without using the word "gentrification" you apparently hope to make it slip by. Because "good" companies don't do bad stuff like that.

Re:Transportation is evil (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#45919017)

In general, complaints about gentrification seem ridiculous.

The complaints are especially ridiculous when they come from the same nimbys that lobby against the construction of any new housing in SF.

Re: Transportation is evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919271)

Isn't there room for more dormitory housing out in Google's suburb?

If employees want fashionable urban housing, try to fit into the existing city.

Re:Transportation is evil (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919197)

gentrification

One of the many problems is they have rent control.

http://steshaw.org/economics-in-one-lesson/chap18p1.html

Think of it this way. Lets say you have 100 houses in a desirable area. But say 50% are in 'rent control'. Those 50 are basically off the market. The people living in them have no incentive to move as long term their price of housing is going down due to inflation. This causes the remaining 50 houses to have a much higher burden of picking up demand. Thus raising the price on them. However, this does not preclude people from moving into those remaining 50 homes. But what you will get is people with more money. They will demand higher priced goods and services as they have the cash to buy it with. The original 50 however find they no longer can buy at their local grocer. As the guy running it quickly figured out he could raise prices and sell less items for higher prices as the market will bear it.

Rent control and 'gentrification' go hand in hand. The very people rent control is meant to help it hurts. Short term (usually 1-2 years) everything is good. Long term 10-15 years not so good. In this case a large employer has moved in and is doing what most cities would give their children's eye teeth away for. Bringing in good paying high education jobs. However, long term the employees will realize they are not wanted. They will move on. They may eventually just say 'lets move the *whole* company'. Considering the way google is structured? They could pull that off. I figure they will pick somewhere in nevada or austin tx.

You can not beat the market. You can not manipulate the market on the scale most gov's do and not cause side effects. Gentrification is a side effect of rent control. These people should be getting mad at the gov of San Fransisco and California.

Re:Transportation is evil (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 3 months ago | (#45919275)

Yes. They want Google to cease to exist. This is clearly an attempt at a smear campaign. Google having enough employees living close enough together and working close enough together that they can all take a loaded buss to and from work is an environmentalists wet dream. The only thing that would make environmentalists happier is if Google rented out all of the housing next to the employees homes so that the Google employees could just walk to work.

Move to Austin? (1)

glennrrr (592457) | about 3 months ago | (#45919405)

If I were Google, I'd be encouraging people to relocate to Austin, a fine city which is the Live Music Capital of the World, and not particularly encumbered by artificial housing constraints. They can even go whale watching on Lake Travis, although they probably won't see any.

Or they could ramp up their facility near here in Cambridge and rent the duck boats to take engineers over to Boston.

i dont get it (5, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about 3 months ago | (#45918801)

I really dont get it. While I understand google is not squeeky clean these days, why do people have to turn everything into an anti google issue? Google pays for busses to bring its employees to work? its bad!!!! Google tries something different with a ferry, OH NO now people cant watch the whales!!!! I mean come on already google could say they are going to give everyone in the state a brand new tesla, and someone would be bitching about how they wanted a ford

Re:i dont get it (3, Informative)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 3 months ago | (#45918875)

It wasn't that Google hired the buses. It was that Google's buses were using the public-transit bus stops, interfering with the regular buses. That's an entirely reasonable objection, if Google wants to run buses then let them arrange all the infrastructure needed themselves or pay the transit system for using public bus stops.

Re:i dont get it (5, Insightful)

pdbogen (596723) | about 3 months ago | (#45919011)

Sort of. The protesters latched on to that as a visible and easily protestable symbol of the real problem.

It's easy to get really, really angry at a super nice charter bus that's picking up the young and well-paid tech workers from your neighborhood (perhaps that you've lived in for a decade or more) that you're about to get kicked out of because you can no longer afford the rising rents.

Re:i dont get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919091)

Actually it's not even really about that, it's about the fact that google employees DARE to live in San Francisco, causing the cost of living to go up since they can afford to pay more thus driving up the cost of living, forcing the poorer people living in San Francisco to have to move to cheaper locations. They should be living in those rich neighborhoods... (nobody mentions where those are)

Many charters in San Francisco use public transit bus stops. they're usually in a convenient location and generally don't stop the flow of traffic as much.

Re:i dont get it (4, Informative)

ganjadude (952775) | about 3 months ago | (#45919097)

I dont know how it works in SF, but here where I live, a bus stop is open to any bus, public or private. We cant reasonably expect google to build its own bus stops, Now as for paying to use the existing stops I can see an argument for that route but my argument would be road taxes pay for that public use, therefore anyone can use it, even a private company

Re:i dont get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919119)

Yeah, but that wasn't the real objection. You're not exactly missing the forest for the trees. It's more like you're missing the forest for the mushrooms. It was about "rising rent," and hidden behind that the idea is one of two ideas: (1) that people unable to pay the risen rent contribute to neighborhood culture, and Google employees don't, so admission to a neighborhood should not be up to landlords alone but should have to pass a cultural-contribution bar, or compete for the spot of a more senior resident when he dies or leaves, or something like that or alternative (2) not only should past residents keep control of their old neighborhoods, but of their specific houses as well: people who rent their houses rather than own them should have more stability about which house they live in than they get from their leases alone.

Re:i dont get it (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#45919133)

It was that Google's buses were using the public-transit bus stops, interfering with the regular buses. That's an entirely reasonable objection

No, that is not the objection. The protesters are primarily upset that Googlers are living in SF. It is legal for their buses to use the bus stops. Other private buses use them as well. There is minimal interference with the public buses.

if Google wants to run buses then let them arrange all the infrastructure needed themselves or pay the transit system for using public bus stops.

Everyone benefits from more buses and fewer cars on the roads. Allowing them to use the public bus stops is a good way to encourage desired behavior that benefits everyone, and it is legal for that reason. Requiring everyone with a bus to build their own redundant infrastructure would be idiotic.

Google is acting responsible here. The protesters are idiots.

Re:i dont get it (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about 3 months ago | (#45919143)

If Google had built their own bus stops, people would have been up in arms about them not peacefully coexisting with existing infrastructure.

It's all sour grapes.

I know SF runs on a tight schedule - it's always moving quickly to its next destination - but you can't have it both ways.

Reminds me of a little neighborhood here downtown. [Overall, downtown here is a hit-and-miss mixture of early century houses, new businesses, run down junk, industrial areas - quite a mix indeed.] Anyway, a corner full of abandoned buildings was renovated to bring in a lunch destination for downtown workers. Half a dozen new popular "fast fresh" restaurants moved into the corner to provide a lunch Mecca, and the corner across the street follow suit, making it quite a place for the thousands of people who work downtown to consider.

During lunch, Mon-Fri the only time of the day that there's anyone downtown, parking could get bad enough to force people into residential neighborhoods. The neighborhoods responded by getting brand new no-parking signs for 11am to 2pm because they want the businesses to fold up and go back to being check cashing and foreign dentistry. [Apparently.]

Re:i dont get it (4, Informative)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | about 3 months ago | (#45919201)

It wasn't that Google hired the buses. It was that Google's buses were using the public-transit bus stops, interfering with the regular buses. That's an entirely reasonable objection, if Google wants to run buses then let them arrange all the infrastructure needed themselves or pay the transit system for using public bus stops.

Google is now paying the city $100,000 annually for the use of the public bus stops.

Re:i dont get it (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about 3 months ago | (#45919205)

It wasn't that Google hired the buses. It was that Google's buses were using the public-transit bus stops, interfering with the regular buses. That's an entirely reasonable objection, if Google wants to run buses then let them arrange all the infrastructure needed themselves or pay the transit system for using public bus stops.

If interfering with regular buses was actually the problem, then I don't see that having Google pay for the privilege of using the bus stops solves anything.

I can't find any evidence that that was really an issue, though. It sounds like this is more of a money thing -- complaints that Google employees are using infrastructure built for the public buses without having to pay for it. From that perspective, I agree that it is sensible to have Google pay to use them.

If it were Apple or Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45918937)

Every one would be singing its praise.

Hasn't whale watching been vilified by the tree huggers?

Re:i dont get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45918949)

the mission, which used to be a comfortable home for generations of irish and latino families,
as well highly diverse haven for people who couldn't be accepted anywhere else, has
turned into a disneyland for socially retarded techs with too much money who have
never experienced any form of life outside of childhood and CS school.

protesting it is useless, and maybe you dont think anything of value has been lost.

but thats what these people are bitching about as they are packing up and moving to
the east bay

Re:i dont get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45918977)

Google tries something different with a ferry, OH NO now people cant watch the whales!!!!

Right, because clearly there is only one boat in the entire state of California.

The passed a law that only 1 boat can exist at a time.

(And yes, I'm being sarcastic. What a stupid article.)

Co-opted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45918809)

If the ferry was chartered, how exactly is that "co-opt"ing? Sounds a bit more like a free market exercise. If whale watching is a good enough business, somebody can provide more ferrys to handle both money providing opportunities.

"vandalism" (-1, Flamebait)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 3 months ago | (#45918833)

There are non-racist words that can describe that activity, like 'defacement', or 'damage'

Re:"vandalism" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45918961)

How is the word vandalism racist?

Re:"vandalism" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919031)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vandals

Re:"vandalism" (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 3 months ago | (#45919159)

Is there anything out that that is not racist to a subgroup of people these days? I mean seriously I would turn it into a drinking game but I would be dead within 15 minutes of watching the news these days

Re:"vandalism" (1)

tsqr (808554) | about 3 months ago | (#45919295)

What? How is "vandalism" a racist word? Some vandalism is racist (as in when a synagogue is defaced with swastikas), but I've never before seen someone claim that the word is somehow racist. Are you concerned with offending the descendants of a Germanic tribe that overran parts of Europe in the 5th century?

Co-opted or hired? (4, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 3 months ago | (#45918837)

It sounds like Google didnt' co-opt the boat, they just hired it. The company that owns it and hires it out decided to take Google's offer over that of the whale-watching company who apparently didn't have a long-term contract for it's use. That's frankly one of the risks you take when you make your company's operation dependent on someone else without locking it down with an iron-clad air-tight contract: that someone else may change their mind and you're left high and dry.

Re:Co-opted or hired? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 3 months ago | (#45918945)

Yep. Maybe the whale company will learn that lesson and ditch google mail, calendar, docs, android, etc.

Re:Co-opted or hired? (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | about 3 months ago | (#45919153)

It sounds like Google didnt' co-opt the boat, they just hired it. The company that owns it and hires it out decided to take Google's offer over that of the whale-watching company who apparently didn't have a long-term contract for it's use. That's frankly one of the risks you take when you make your company's operation dependent on someone else without locking it down with an iron-clad air-tight contract: that someone else may change their mind and you're left high and dry.

Plus there's not exactly a shortage of charter boats operating out of Long Beach. TFS is a troll.

"co-opted" means something else (5, Insightful)

Meostro (788797) | about 3 months ago | (#45918855)

I don't think "co-opted" means what you think it means. I'm pretty sure Google just paid the operator for their service.

Re:"co-opted" means something else (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919045)

Give us yer boat or ye'll never run a google search again. We hope you like bing. P.S. Microsoft employees eat whales for lunch!

I'm just waiting . (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45918885)

One day, Google is just going to build a space station and all of their workers will be up there. Then other companies will follow suit.

Eventually, all that will be left on the hot drought stricken planet will be the unemployable dregs with no skills and no worthwhile education - you know, all those losers that companies say have no skills or inadequate education. And the folks who don't fit into the corporate culture *cough*too old*cough*.

Then in the meantime, when those losers complain about job prostpects, the elite will point fingers and say "Oh Gee! First World Problems!" and other BS - while they continually lobby for more of the folks from countries exporting their poverty.

And I'd like to point out that yes, I do have First World problems. See, my ancestors were smart enough to treat their women as equals and not less than cattle. They were smart enough to implelment a democratically elected governmental system and not fall for the liars who want to create an authortarian control government and economy. And they were smart enough to realize that a government needs to be secular in order to be just.

So, I got lucky - I had wise ancestors who learned from the stupidity of the rest of the World. And I am grateful.

I resent the billionaire class trying to hide their true intentions by calling smart, hard working, decent people inadequate in order to hide their exploitation of Third World labor - like the Indians, Chinese, and other countries who didn't have the benefit of enlighted leaders and ancestors.

Re:I'm just waiting . (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 3 months ago | (#45919185)

One day, Google is just going to build a space station and all of their workers will be up there. Then other companies will follow suit.

Eventually, all that will be left on the hot drought stricken planet will be the unemployable dregs with no skills and no worthwhile education - you know, all those losers that companies say have no skills or inadequate education. And the folks who don't fit into the corporate culture *cough*too old*cough*.

I watched Elysium too!

Re: I'm just waiting . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919389)

Indeed. And let the spacedwelling elite eat their hydropondic tofu. They can probably come up with a closed loop system that recovers their sewage to keep it going. There's no reason the rest of us should supply them with anything.

Hell, with modern technology we don't really share public phones anymore that would need sanitizing.

A Car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45918895)

What is so bad about the employees driving themselves to work, or use public transportation, or have Google buy bus tickets for employees to commute by bus?

OH! It's got'a be that CARBON TAX TRADING thang that Gov Moonbeam instituted to shore-up his 100M retirement portfolio cash base!

Re:A Car? (1)

pdbogen (596723) | about 3 months ago | (#45919071)

Individual employees driving cars (or even carpooling) would be worse for the environment and worse for traffic. A lot of the folks probably don't own cars (it's hard to own a car in San Francisco); they'd be paying for parking, which would actually drive rents up further. Space is space, whether you're putting yourself in an apartment or a car in a parking space.

Public transportation doesn't go directly to where they need to be to work, and it doesn't go there as quickly as the Google shuttle would (what with making a lot of intermediate steps.) That said, the tech companies in the area generally *will* provide a stipend of some sort for employees that can efficiently commute via mass transit. (For Google, that usually means BART or CalTrain, not busses.)

One more reasoned argument seems to be that Google should have encouraged public transportation to provide the routes they need instead of doing it themselves. That, however, isn't how the free market works. I can easily imagine the outrage at "Google's manipulation of the city government to bend the mass transit system to their will," so I rather doubt it would actually mollify the protesters any.

Worse than reddit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45918897)

Oh dear FSM, this is so fucking stupid. I can't believe people take the time to get outraged over google paying money to lease a boat of all things.

Missed the point (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45918919)

I think the anger is misplaced in the first place but this doesn't actually address what I see as the actual gripe.
The reason people are mad a Google buses is because it enables and encourages Google employees to live in SF without paying expensive transportation costs or suffering the inconveniences of public transportation, which makes a two tiered system of those who work for a deep pocket tech companies and those who don't.
It causes an increase in demand for housing which SF building laws do little to meet on the supply side substantially raising rents.
Work for Google, be a total brogrammer, live in hip Disneyland for adults, work in a tech-burbia perpetual college bubble, at the cost of displacing less affluent locals and the destruction of culture.

Re:Missed the point (1)

mbkennel (97636) | about 3 months ago | (#45919055)

"suffering the inconveniences of public transportation, which makes a two tiered system of those who work for a deep pocket tech companies and those who don't."

So if SF public transportation is inconvenient, then everybody should be inconvenienced?

What about this angle: Google's busses are clearing up traffic of 20 cars.

Not Cool (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45918933)

In all honesty, I believe the Google Bourgeoisie should get themselves to work like anyone else -- via their own means of conveyance. Google and other rampant capitalist behemoths are creating a form of apartheid here. No thanks.

Don't be lazy, people. Use your own car, public bus, carpool with others, whatever.

Re:Not Cool (2)

JeffOwl (2858633) | about 3 months ago | (#45918981)

Don't be lazy, people. Use your own car, public bus, carpool with others, whatever.

What's the difference between what Google is doing and carpooling on a large scale?

Re:Not Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919059)

Because it creates a divide. Carpooling is people (workers) sharing resources THEY pay for.

Re:Not Cool (2)

pdbogen (596723) | about 3 months ago | (#45919093)

If nothing else, the Google shuttle could be considered simply a form of non-monetary compensation to Google's employees. (In the same way that all their free food is actually taxed as income.)

That's the way an economy works. They might not be paying cash for it, but at the end of the day they're making less money because some of their compensation is in the form of a free bus ride down the Peninsula.

Re:Not Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919225)

So really, the problem is that the employees who use these carpools are paying too little for them, while the rest of Google employees are unfairly shafted?

Re:Not Cool (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 3 months ago | (#45919283)

People aren't upset at the car/van/bus-pooling per se.

They're upset about the gentrification of neighborhoods, as tech millionaires "ruin" old neighborhoods by living in them.

As an example, look how "awful" Brooklyn is now. Damned hipsters and their mayonnaise store. [gothamist.com]

Do you own the boat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45918999)

Then Shut The Fuck Up. It's not your boat, you have no legal or moral interest in what the owner of the boat uses it for, and if Google pays him more money than tourists, more power too him.

Why is this even an issue? How do the wants of rich eco-tourists trump private property rights?

Is Google the new M$? (4, Insightful)

EMG at MU (1194965) | about 3 months ago | (#45919013)

Seriously will ./ try to slant anything to make Google look bad? Co-Opt a boat? Did Google storm the boat by force and take it over like nerdy pirates? Or did Google negotiate a contract with a company to use one of their boats? If whale watching is in such crazy demand that Google using a boat for 30 days is ruining the season then it sounds like there is a great business opportunity for someone to start another whale watching tour company.

Why isn't anyone bitching about the owners of the boat letting Google use it? Becuase that wouldn't get ./'s pantys in a knot. Thats why.

Re:Is Google the new M$? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919203)

Yes Google is the new M$. We've moved on from OS monopolies and are now focusing on emerging Web services monopolies. Try to keep up.

Environmental impact? (2)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about 3 months ago | (#45919027)

I would guess that moving 30-40 passengers via bus uses far less fuel than taking them by boat.

Way to go SF! Save your bus-stops...

We should expect pro-environment Berkley folks to be protesting the pro-bus-stop SF residents...

Where are the police? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919041)

The police need to move in swinging batons next time idiots stop their bus.

LEFT LANE CAMPING (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919077)

But the boats can't hog the left lane and impede other boaters from going with the flow of traffic.

SF gentry opposes gentrification (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919149)

At the end of the day what I take from this is that SF is populated with frightened, hate-filled malcontents. I just hope this serves to dispel the rose-colored view of these people that so many indulge. They are not fair, friendly, open armed flower children that wish you and yours peace and freedom; they hate you and if you have the temerity to intrude on their precisely cultivated little world they won't hesitate to publically ostracize you, or worse.

One wonders if, at this point, someone in Google isn't thinking a suite in Colorado or Utah might have been a better option. I'm certain thats occurred to the employees that have to run the SF protest gauntlet every day.

30 to 40? (0)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 3 months ago | (#45919191)

After learning that Google had co-opted the $4 million, 83-foot, 150-passenger whale-watching catamaran MV/Triumphant to ferry as few as 30-40 Googlers to work

Time to put together that U-boat Kickstarter project.

In other news about G+ (1)

AtomicJake (795218) | about 3 months ago | (#45919195)

From this summary: "...some expressed concerns on Facebook..."
From another summary today: "Google today announced new integration between Gmail and Google+..."

Oh this irony!

Not an Aquarium Boat (2)

tsqr (808554) | about 3 months ago | (#45919207)

The boat doesn't belong to the Aquarium of the Pacific; it belongs to a private harbor cruise company. If the cruise company would rather charter the boat to Google than run whale-watching tours, why shouldn't they do so?

As to the buses -- it seems that the excuse a lot of opponents use is that Google and other companies use the city's bus stops without paying for the privilege, either through fees or through fines. But the mayor of San Francisco doesn't seem to have any issues with this. Muni is actually working on developing a policy to more efficiently share the stops with the private shuttles, and it's not going to get a dime for doing it.

now you know why Google is secretive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919219)

When a tiny emerging detail with "Google" attached turns into a preposterous loaded incitement to hate like this snippet, Google has one more reason to be extremely secretive. It's not just that "discussion isn't in their interest." It's obvious to sane people inside and outside Google that the discussion isn't fair, useful, or productive, and they're left with a choice between being secretive and offering themselves as a punching bag for lunatics. You, sir, OP, make it significantly harder for critics to influence Google.

Google transportation (2)

Animats (122034) | about 3 months ago | (#45919267)

I'm surprised Google is bothering with a boat. The boat only takes people as far as Redwood City. They've only doing a little more than half the trip by boat. They'll have to take buses at both ends. It doesn't seem worth the trouble to change vehicles twice.

Personal story about ferries (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45919289)

I rode on a ferry once. I was heading to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe. So, I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days nickels had pictures of bumblebees on them. 'Give me five bees for a quarter', you'd say. Now, where were we? Oh, yeah...the important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn't have white onions because of the war; the only thing you could get was those big yellow ones...

It's in beta. (3, Funny)

wcrowe (94389) | about 3 months ago | (#45919425)

...after Google's '30-day trial'...

Good grief. Even their boat chartering is in beta.

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