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Google to Employees: No Christmas Bonus, Here's a G1 Instead

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In holidays past, when money flowed like hot Santa tears and melted gum drops , Googlers looked forward to cash bonuses that topped $20,000. This year, they're getting $180 worth of "dogfood"—a G1. Updated 1:05PM


Yep, they're all getting G1s—even Google, who prints money as a hobby, is feeling the financiapocalypse:

This is a chance for us to once again dogfood a product and make it even better! Second, as we discussed in our email this week, the current economic crisis requires us to be more conservative about how we spend our money. We felt that giving the Dream phone would be a great holiday present - something we could all celebrate.


In corporate tech jargon, to "dogfood" a product is a reference to eating one's own dog food—that is, making employees use the products that they're shipping out to you. Lenovo does it, Microsoft does it, Google does it, everyone does it. Theoretically, it makes stuff better, since employees don't want to be stuck using a POS, so they'll make it better.

Still, this isn't any old G1, oh no sir: It's specially designed for Googlers with a 'droid' on the back! Wooooo. Okay, it actually is kind of special: It's totally unlocked and can be used with any GSM network provider. Which is great, except that 3G won't work, unless they've also got totally different networking gear inside because of the crazy way T-Mobile uses its spectrum.

But hey, who needs 3G—or 20 grand—nowadays anyway.

Update: An anonymous Googler has passed along a Q&A covering the full details of their oh-so-Dreamy holiday bonus:

Q: What is the holiday bonus for 2008?
The holiday bonus is a Google tradition. In the past, we have chosen to make this a monetary gift. This year we decided to try something different: on December 19th, we will begin distributing free Dream phones to Googlers worldwide.

Q: I already have an Android phone. What happens to my holiday bonus?
These phones are a personal gift. We hope you will put them to good use! Please do not resell them as this is against Google [policy link removed].

Q: Why did we decide to give Dream phones as our holiday bonus this year?
The launch of Android was one of this year's highlights for the company. When the Android phone was announced, Googler interest was extremely high - we had scores of TGIF questions, misc threads, and just general buzz about how Googlers could get a phone of their own. After seeing the amount of interest in the Android phones from Googlers, we agreed that every Googler should have one.

Q: Will all Googlers get phones?
It was a huge task to ensure that the phones would work around the world and we want to thank the Android team and Legal team for making this happen. We're proud to say that almost 85% of Googlers globally will receive Dream phones, including Googlers in the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and Japan.

Q: I'm not getting a Dream phone because I don't live in an eligible country. Do I still get a holiday bonus?
Yes, Googlers who live in countries where it was not currently feasible to distribute Dream devices will be getting a cash equivalent gift in your paycheck in December. This includes people in India, China, Brazil, Korea, Israel, Russia, Argentina, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mexico, Turkey, Kenya, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Egypt, Chile, and Ukraine. For more information, please see [removed].

Q: I do live in an eligible country. Can I opt for the cash equivalent gift instead?
Only those Googlers in countries where it was not currently feasible to distribute Dream devices will be getting the cash equivalent gift. All other Googlers will receive a Dream phone.

Q: Can I resell my phone?
Googlers should not resell any item given to them by Google. Please review our Personal Transactions policy [removed].

Q: Will I be able to take my SIM from my Google managed Corporate Mobile device (BlackBerry) and use it in my new Dream phone?
No, this is against policy and Google could incur significant overage charges. Placing a Blackberry SIM into a Dream device may cause the data plans to be disabled and break data for both the Dream and the Blackberry. Please review [link removed] for more info.

Q: Are there tax implications to this?
Google is covering the taxes for this gift; there will be an extra payroll run before the end of the year to cover the taxes. If you have further payroll or HR-related questions about this gift please email [address removed].