Google’s self-designed office swallows Wi-Fi “like the Bermuda Triangle”


Enlarge / Google’s Bay View campus was designed with the world’s strangest roof line.

Google

Google’s swanky new “Bay View” campus apparently has a major problem: bad Wi-Fi. Reuters reports that Google’s first self-designed office building has “been plagued for months by inoperable or, at best, spotty Wi-Fi, according to six people familiar with the matter.” A Google spokesperson confirmed the problems and said the company is working on fixing them.

Bay View opened in May 2022. At launch, Google’s VP of Real Estate & Workplace Services, David Radcliffe, said the site “marks the first time we developed one of our own major campuses, and the process gave us the chance to rethink the very idea of an office.” The result is a wild tent-like structure with a striking roofline made up of swooping square sections. Of course, it’s all made of metal and glass, but the roof shape looks like squares of cloth held up by poles—each square section has high points on the four corners and sags down in the middle. The roof is covered in solar cells and collects rainwater while also letting in natural light, and Google calls it the “Gradient Canopy.”

We'll guess the roofline's multiple parabolic sections are great at scattering the Wi-Fi signal.
Enlarge / We’ll guess the roofline’s multiple parabolic sections are great at scattering the Wi-Fi signal.

Google

All those peaks and parabolic ceiling sections apparently aren’t great for Wi-Fi propagation, with the Reuters report saying that the roof “swallows broadband like the Bermuda Triangle.” Googlers assigned to the building are making do with Ethernet cables, using phones as hotspots, or working outside, where the Wi-Fi is stronger. One anonymous employee told Reuters, “You’d think the world’s leading Internet company would have worked this out.”

Having an office with barely working Wi-Fi sure is awkward for a company pushing a “return to office” plan that includes at least three days a week at Google’s Wi-Fi desert. A Google spokesperson told Reuters the company has already made several improvements and hopes to have a fix in the coming weeks.



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