Google bus

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pages: 391 words: 105,382

Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr


Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, centralized clearinghouse, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, computer age, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, deskilling, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, factory automation, failed state, feminist movement, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, game design, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Kevin Kelly, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mental accounting, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shale / tar sands, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Snapchat, social graph, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

Through a kind of hallucinogenic vehicular transmogrification, it has become the Google bus, shuttling geeks between their homes in San Francisco and the company’s headquarters in Mountain View. The makeover is, on the surface, extreme. The Kesey bus was a 1939 International Harvester school bus bought for peanuts; the Google bus is a plush new Van Hool machine that goes for half a million bucks. The Kesey bus was brightly colored, a rolling Grateful Dead poster; the Google bus is drab and anonymous, a rolling Jos. A. Bank suit. The Kesey bus was raucous and raunchy; the Google bus is hushed and chaste. The Kesey bus carried a vat of LSD for connecting with the group mind; the Google bus has wi-fi.

The Kesey bus carried a vat of LSD for connecting with the group mind; the Google bus has wi-fi. Kesey’s Pranksters named their bus Further. If the Google bus had a name, it would be Safer. Despite the differences, both buses are vehicles of communalism and transcendence. They carry groups of young people eager to distance themselves from the reigning culture, eager to define themselves as members of a select and separate society that will serve as a model for the superior society of the future. The existing culture is too corrupt, too far gone, to be reformed from within. You have to escape it in order to rebuild it.

And this is actually where the Valley is going. This is where we’re going over the next ten years. . . . The best part is this: the people who think this is weird, the people who sneer at the frontier, who hate technology—they won’t follow you out there. The Kesey bus dead-ended somewhere in Mexico, its allegorical gaskets blown. The Google bus continues on its circuit between the City and the Valley, an infinite loop of infinite possibility. THE MYTH OF THE ENDLESS LADDER April 6, 2014 “ULTIMATELY, IT’S A VIRTUOUS CYCLE,” writes economics reporter Annie Lowrey in a Times Magazine piece on computer automation’s job-displacing effects, “because it frees humans up to work on higher-value tasks.”

pages: 361 words: 81,068

The Internet Is Not the Answer by Andrew Keen


3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, computer age, connected car, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, frictionless, full employment, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Hacker Ethic, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, index card, informal economy, information trail, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, libertarian paternalism, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Potemkin village, precariat, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, working poor, Y Combinator

If I were old, I’d just take Uber,” the Los Angeles Times reports one San Francisco techie saying to his friends after reluctantly giving up his seat to an old lady on a Muni bus.29 Perhaps old ladies take Muni, I would have explained, because they can afford the $0.75 senior’s fare, whereas Travis Kalanick’s Uber service, with its surge pricing, could cost them $94 for a two-mile ride. And then there’s what the San Francisco–based writer Rebecca Solnit dubs, collectively, “the Google Bus.”30 These are sleeker and more powerful buses, menacingly anonymous in their absence of any identifying marks, with the same kind of opaque, tinted windows that masked the Battery from the prying eyes of the outside world. Unlike the Muni’s legacy buses, the Google Bus isn’t for everyone. It is a private bus designed to transport tech workers from their expensive San Francisco homes down to the offices of Google, Facebook, and Apple.

Google alone runs more than one hundred of these daily buses, which make 380 trips to its Googleplex office in Mountain View.31 These luxurious, Wi-Fi-enabled private buses—which, in total, make around four thousand daily scheduled pickups at public Bay Area bus stops—have been superimposed on top of San Francisco’s public transit grid by tech companies that have even begun to employ private security guards to protect their worker-passengers from irate local residents.32 The Google Bus has sparked such animosity from locals that, in December 2013, protesters in West Oakland attacked one of them, smashing a rear window and so outraging Tom Perkins that he compared the glass breaking to Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany.33 And, as if to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Web, 2014 is the year that these demonstrations have become more politically organized and coherent.

Protesters in San Francisco’s Mission District waved such a construction-style sign outside the Google buses.53 “Public $$$$$$$$$ Private Gains,” another sign said.54 Others were less polite about these mysterious buses’ whisking their expensive cargo of privileged, mostly young white male workers down to Silicon Valley. “Fuck off Google,” came the message from West Oakland.55 Rebecca Solnit’s drawing attention to the “Google Bus,” which rides on public infrastructure and stops at public bus stops but is a private service run by private companies, has become the most public symbol now of this economic division between Silicon Valley and everyone else. “I think of them as the spaceships,” is how Solnit describes this new feudal power structure in Silicon Valley, “on which our alien overlords have landed to rule over us.”

pages: 352 words: 104,411

Rush Hour by Iain Gately


Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, Beeching cuts, blue-collar work, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, car-free, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, congestion charging, connected car, DARPA: Urban Challenge, Dean Kamen, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, don't be evil, Elon Musk, extreme commuting, Google bus, Henri Poincaré, Hyperloop, Jeff Bezos, low skilled workers, postnationalism / post nation state, Ralph Waldo Emerson, remote working, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, telepresence, Tesla Model S, urban planning, éminence grise

Hindman, Huffington Post, 26 February 2013: 298 ‘a remote-access future possible’, see Surowiecki, ‘Face Time’. 298 ‘helmed by its own chef’, Tanya Steel, ‘Inside Google’s Kitchens’, Gourmet Live, 3 July 2012: food/gourmetlive/2012/ 030712/inside-googles-kitchens?printable=true. 299 ‘San Franciscans feel resentful’, Rory Carroll, ‘Why people hate the Google Bus’, Guardian, 26 May 2013. 300 ‘software engineer for a major internet company’, Carroll, ‘Why people hate the Google Bus’. 300 ‘a kind of symphony on wheels’, Justine Sharrock, ‘What’s it like to drive the “Google Bus”’, BuzzFeed, 24 July 2013: 301 For ‘mid-40’s software developer’, Andrew Valentine, Verizon, see: %20Valentine. 301 ‘Have someone in Bangalore or Shanghai’, Timothy Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek, London, Vermilion, 2011 edition, p. 131. 302 ‘the factories of the 21st century information age’, ‘How Clean is Your Cloud?’

However, they compete for space on the roads with school and municipal bus services, and people who live along their routes but who don’t get free gourmet food at their workplaces think of them as the equivalents of the club railway carriages of Victorian robber barons. According to an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle, ‘San Franciscans feel resentful about the technology industry’s lack of civic and community engagement, and the Google bus is our daily reminder.’ It seems unfair that some people should have fun commuting, while others are packed together in havens for exotic bacteria. The companies that run the buses point out that each one takes fifty or so cars off the road, and so alleviate jams rather than causing them. Employees who commute on them are also ready to speak up for their benefits to the community and indeed the planet.

pages: 366 words: 94,209

Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity by Douglas Rushkoff


3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, business process, buy low sell high, California gold rush, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, centralized clearinghouse, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, Google bus, Howard Rheingold, IBM and the Holocaust, impulse control, income inequality, index fund, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, loss aversion, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, medical bankruptcy, minimum viable product, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, passive investing, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social graph, software patent, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, trade route, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, unpaid internship, Y Combinator, young professional, Zipcar

Until we do, we remain incapable of properly seeing, much less changing, the functioning of our businesses or the economy in which they operate. We are destined to repeat the same old mistakes. Only this time, thanks to the speed and scale on which digital business operates, our errors threaten to derail not only the innovative capacity of our industries but also the sustainability of our entire society. People throwing rocks at the Google bus will be remembered as the tremor before the quake. Or we may come to our senses and choose a different path. We are at a critical crossroads. Every businessperson, employee, entrepreneur, or creator reading this book understands that we are all operating on borrowed time and borrowed money. We need to make a choice.

pages: 515 words: 126,820

Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World by Don Tapscott, Alex Tapscott


Airbnb, altcoin, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Google bus, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, informal economy, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, litecoin, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price mechanism, Productivity paradox, quantitative easing, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, seigniorage, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, smart grid, social graph, social software, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, unorthodox policies, X Prize, Y2K, Zipcar

—Erik Brynjolfsson, Professor at MIT; coauthor of The Second Machine Age “An indispensable and up-to-the-minute account of how the technology underlying bitcoin could—and should—unleash the true potential of a digital economy for distributed prosperity.” —Douglas Rushkoff, author of Present Shock and Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus “Technological change that used to develop over a generation now hits us in a relative blink of the eye, and no one tells this story better than the Tapscotts.” —Eric Spiegel, President and CEO, Siemens USA “Few leaders push us to look around corners the way Don Tapscott does. With Blockchain Revolution he and his son Alex teach us, challenge us, and show us an entirely new way to think about the future.”

pages: 666 words: 181,495

In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives by Steven Levy


23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, business process, clean water, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Dean Kamen, discounted cash flows, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, El Camino Real, fault tolerance, Firefox, Gerard Salton, Google bus, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Googley, HyperCard, hypertext link, IBM and the Holocaust, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, optical character recognition, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Potemkin village, prediction markets, recommendation engine, risk tolerance, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, search inside the book, second-price auction, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, slashdot, social graph, social software, social web, spectrum auction, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, trade route, traveling salesman, Vannevar Bush, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

Besides a number of work-related courses (“Managing Within the Law,” “Advanced Interviewing Techniques”), there were classes in creative writing, Greek mythology, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and, for those contemplating a new career funded with Google gains, “Terroir: The Geology & Wines of California.” In April 2010, a software engineer named Tim Bray blogged his experiences as a Noogler on a single day at Mountain View. He woke up at a Google Apartment, a temporary arrangement while visiting from his home base in Seattle. He caught a Google Bus to the campus, doing a bit of work using the Google Wi-Fi supplied to the passengers, arriving in time for free breakfast at one of the Google cafés. For lunch, a companion took him to the Jia café across a few parking lots, known for its excellent sushi. (Thursday was Hot Pot day.) Later in the afternoon he wanted to buy a new camera, so he borrowed one of the free electric-powered Toyota Priuses available to employees and drove to a Best Buy to make his purchase.