Google is one of the biggest and most powerful companies on the planet. Most of us can't go a single day without relying on Google's services in some way, but stories like this prove that even the world's biggest brands can have their own little 'fail moments' from time to time.
Believe it or not, Google hasn't been able to stop hundreds of people stealing the free bicycles it leaves outside its Mountain View, California HQ.
The company owns around 1,100 of the bikes, which it calls "Gbikes" for use by its employees. However, local residents and visitors have decided that they're entitled to use the bikes too!
At least 100 bicycles go missing each week. Some weeks, up to 250 can vanish, according to representatives from the company! The bikes are later found at local schools or in front of random homes, or even on the roof of the local bar.
Locals who were interviewed say that they see the Gbikes as a little benefit of living in the area, saying they have a right to "rent" them whenever they like.
“It’s like a friendly gesture,” explained 68-year-old resident Sharon Veach, who is often seeing riding a Gbike home and storing it at her house overnight. “They don’t really want us to use it, but it’s OK if you do ... You know, I rent it for a day.”
Another local, Joseph Zidarevich, 58, said that he knows plenty of people who take the bikes, “from whole families with their grandmothers—literally the grandpa and grandma and all their grandkids were riding Google bikes down the road—to the Sureño gang kids.”
Google has tried fitting the bikes with GPS tracking devices, but that didn't make much difference, so the company is working on a special app to prevent them being used by anyone who isn't an employee. As for the local Mountain View police, they simply said it wasn't their problem, especially as the bikes have been taken as far away as Mexico in certain cases!