Google boats are the new Google buses

January 8

(All American Marine)

Not content with shuttling its employees around in private buses, Google this week has taken to ferrying its high-tech workforce in a multi-hulled boat.

The ship, known as the Triumphant, started a 30-day trial period for Google on Monday, according to a report on CBS. It carries up to 149 people at a time and is making four trips a day between San Francisco and Google's campus.


(KPIX)

"There's much more capacity to use the bay for transportation," Peter Dailey, the maritime deputy director of the port of San Francisco, told CBS.

The Triumphant is reportedly being operated by a Maine-based company called Multinational Logistics.

Reached Wednesday morning by The Washington Post, a Google spokesperson confirmed the pilot program, and nodded implicitly at some of the recent controversy surrounding the company's fleet of buses.

"We certainly don't want to cause any inconvenience to SF residents," the spokesperson said, "and we're trying alternative ways to get Googlers to work."

Protesters have decried the buses as a symptom of gentrification amid rising housing costs. The situation drew national attention last month when an activist posing as a Google employee got into a confrontation with another protester while trying to board one of the private vehicles.

This isn't Google's first foray into maritime activity. The company has also set up floating retail barges off the coast of San Francisco and other areas, and it's also expanded its Street View service to cover the oceans.

Update: Matt Separa points out that San Francisco intends to start charging Google and other tech companies that take advantage of public bus stops. In light of that, it'd make complete sense why Google might start looking for alternatives.

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post.
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