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Google Bikes Keep Getting Stolen Because Mountain View Locals Think They're Free To Use

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Google is doing a great job in its mission of organizing the world's information, but the multibillion-dollar company is apparently having trouble with a local problem in its Mountain View headquarters.

Gbikes, the bicycles that Google offers to its employees so that they can get around the sprawling campus, are being stolen at an alarming rate by locals living around the area.

Hundreds Of Gbikes Stolen Per Week

A report by The Wall Street Journal reveals just how bad Google's problem is regarding its Gbikes, revealing that out of the about 1,100 multicolored bicycles, around 100 to 250 go missing each week.

The Gbikes were rolled out by Google for the benefit of its employees, an initiative that has inspired similar programs across Silicon Valley. However, residents of Mountain View apparently think that the bikes are free for them to use. This is why the bikes are being brought out of the Google headquarters and then found around the city.

"It's like a friendly gesture," 68-year-old Sharon Veach told The Wall Street Journal. "They don't really want us to use it, but it's OK if you do," she added. Even Ken Rosenberg, the mayor of Mountain View, admitted that he used a Gbike to go to a movie after visiting Google's headquarters.

How Google Plans To Solve The Problem

Google has not revealed how much it spends on the Gbikes. However, the estimated price of the bicycles is about $100 to $300, which adds up to as much as $30,000 for each 100 Gbikes lost per week. Google only recovered about 70 to 190 bikes a week from July to November 2017.

The company may have billions upon billions of dollars on hand, but it apparently has had enough with the missing Gbikes problem. In late 2017, Google started to install GPS trackers to the bicycles, which revealed that they were taken as far as Mexico and Alaska. Gbikes have previously been seen in New England and at the Burning Man festival in Nevada.

Google has also started testing versions that Google employees can unlock with their smartphones, so that only the company's workers will be able to use them.

Most recently, Google hired a team of 30 people in five vans, with the sole task of retrieving the Gbikes. The move was necessary because Mountain View Police claimed that it does not have the manpower to ask each person riding a Gbike if they are a Google employee.

It remains to be seen if these actions will solve Google's missing Gbikes problem.

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