Google would like you to stop stealing its bikes

Google's got a lot on its plate at any given time. The company is in charge of the Android mobile operating system, has to put out fires with rambunctious YouTubers, and according to an article from The Wall Street Journal, is constantly on the hunt for missing bicycles.

At its Mountain View campus, Google has around 1,100 multicolored bikes for its employees to ride around to get back and forth building to building throughout the day. The bikes have a yellow frame, blue wheels, green fenders, and red baskets. They're cuter than they have a right to be, and although they're intended for use only by Google employees, Mountain View locals apparently steal them all the time.

Up to 250 bikes are stolen from Google every week.

Google reportedly loses between 100 to 250 bikes every single week, and they've been found in people's lawns, on the roof of a sports pub, and even in a commercial on TV for Garnier. A 68-year-old employee at Oracle who often rides the bikes says they're "like a friendly gesture" for Mountain View residents, and even the city's mayor has admitted to taking one on his way to see a movie following a meeting at the Google campus.

The Mountain View Police choose to not get involved with the missing bikes, so in an effort to take matters into its own hands, Google started placing GPS trackers on the bikes last year. After doing so, the company discovered that its bikes were being transported as far away as Mexico, Nevada during Burning Man, and even Alaska.

Google's now started to test a system where employees can bypass locks on bikes with their smartphones, but it remains to be seen if something like this will be expanded to the entire fleet.

If you've got a bicycle in your life, be sure to hold it close to your heart tonight.

Because somewhere in Mountain View, hundreds are being stolen at any given time.

Google has fixed the infamous cheeseburger emoji with Android 8.1

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

  • That's pretty crappy of people :(
  • People are pretty crappy.
  • Agreed
  • Ok Google
  • locate stolen bike
  • Well done.
  • I blame Vince Vaughn for making the bikes look so much fun in the Internship
  • Well, it is located in CA.
  • Just seeing them makes me want one! They're so... tacky!
  • I solemnly, whole heartedly swear that I will never steal one of their bicycles.
  • Ever again?
  • How about you stop your lazy ass employees from leaving the downtown.
  • "looses" At least you'd expect journalists to get it right. ;-)
  • It's correct. The bikes are actually self aware and self driving. They release them into the wild when they're too old to be ridden anymore.
  • You mean like the subtitle....disappeaing bikes?
  • - Ok Google, Where is my fuсking bike!
  • I cannot find f.ucking bike.
    Would you like me to do a Google search for f.cuking bike?
  • And I would like Google to fix Bluetooth.....
  • The Mountain View Police "choose not to get involved" in the theft of tens of thousands of dollars worth of property stolen every week?
  • Yes that doesn't make much sense.
  • It sounds like it's something that's considered acceptable... It the police see someone actually actively stealing one they'd likely intervene. But if they actively pursued these, they'd never do anything else. Also, California may be different, but in my experience the only reason to even report a stolen bike is to claim on insurance. The police don't care, bigger fish to fry.
  • Police tend to not do much when it comes to things relating to bikes. Even in hit-and-run cases, cyclists get little if any support.
  • I remember when I was in high school, and my evil stepfather made me ride the bike I had just finished building from scratch. I had built it for marathons and apparently he felt I spent too much time on it. Anyway, I locked it to a tree in the front yard of the police station, and came out to find nothing but chips on the tree from them chopping through the cable. Police put no effort into recovery despite it happening in full view of their picture windows.
  • I cannot stand a thief
  • Well they could offer them up for sale. I suspect that they would ask at least 2 thousand dollars each. Then this or that would malfunction. Pretty soon nobody would want one. Psychology.
  • I'm absolutely against theft, but what do you expect when the bikes are everywhere unlocked.
  • I live near Google's main campus and every other day I see one of their bikes ditched somewhere. A couple of years ago I looked up how to call them to let them know where I saw a bike that had been left for a couple of days. They supposedly will send a van to collect them. Drive by one of their buildings and you'll see a dozen or so in a rack none of them locked... It's their own fault.
  • Several years ago we drove up the coast and toured the campus over a weekend. The place was surprisingly empty (though I did see a few folks walking around with Google Glass on before it was announced, which was cool) and my wife and stepson and I all rode the bikes from building to building. Some of the Googlers told us to use them. It was fine, as long as we didn't take them with us. I remember thinking how strange it was that people would come and steal those things. They aren't spectacular by any means, but they really made it easy to get around. It sucks that people can't just appreciate something without coveting it to the point of theft.
  • "Google's now started to test a system where employees can bypass locks on bikes with their smartphones, but it remains to be seen if something like this will be expanded to the entire fleet." There are a couple of companies that operate dockless bike share companies in Dallas and all of them let riders unlock the bikes with an app. Certainly Google could do the same.
  • Maybe Google could actually, you know, sell them on their store.
  • Hey Google, what's happening to your bicycles?
    Assistant: you people stole them daily!
    Me: i am sorry to be a human! Do you charge other devices when you're full? We people never fed up hungry people while we're getting fat!
  • I don't get it. If people, including the mayor, are using them, they have to be left unlocked. Who normal leaves unlocked bikes in the wild? In fact, they are quite lucky that there is any left. It's not that people are particularly nasty in there, no. It's the stupidity of Google, that they can't find any proper solution for the problem that is going out of hand.
  • I have to admit, when I visited their campus last year, it was very tempting to ride one. I didn't, but wish I had. Their campus is so massive, it took me forever to walk from one place to another.
  • Have you tried looking under my pickup truck? That's where they WOULD be if I had come across one of these ridiculous things.
  • They are junky bikes I don't know why anyone would want to steal them other than the novelty. I visited their campus and rode one from one building to another and then put it back in the bike rack at the other building.
  • it's called a community, and its not owned by google. if you wanted to be exclusive, you should have made it like citibikes did and lock them in a kiosk.
  • If you stop making such nice bikes we will stop stealing them :)
  • Great article. At least it's not a repeat article being reused.
  • Google should sell them for a reasonable price or give them away with certain purchase amounts. Turn this negative into a positive.
  • Where can I purchase one??? I want it!!!
  • Maybe what google needs to do is convert them into autonomous bikes, which can simply navigate themselves back to google campus after being ditched in some public space. That sounds like a very google'y kind of project.
  • They need to add a version tech that makes shopping cart wheels lock up outside of range and physically secures the tire. Even the frame is useless if if you have to destroy part of it to remove the google tires & tech.