Most of us lesser mortals get an off on Christmas, or a box of sweets or a card, if we’re lucky. Some companies even attempt to bring in some festive cheer with some festive decor, organizing Secret Santa, the works.
But Google is a generous company. And being a global tech giant, and a cash-rich company whose employee-friendly culture is universally celebrated and lauded, it does Christmas in style.
(Check out the Google Hyderabad office here.)
Not only does Google go all out in decking up its campuses around the globe and dishing up Christmas special menus in its cafes, it plays the biggest Santa to its 55,000 odd employees every Christmas. Google employees around the world are the privileged recipients of Christmas or Holiday gifts every year during Christmas. (Other than a soaring stock and world class facilities, of course.) These are no ordinary gifts, a box of chocolates or a little trinket, but the latest Google smartphone or similarly high-tech gadget running into thousands of dollars!
The buzz around the holiday gift starts building up in Google weeks or even months before the D-day as speculations go ripe about what the gift is going to be this year. On the day of the gift giving, Google offices go into an excited overdrive, with overjoyed Googlers showing off their bounty on social media or discussing the specs of their latest possession with fellow Googlers.
Together with some Googlers, we have compiled a roundup of all the gifts Google’s showered on its employees over the last few years.
Warning: Jealousy Level – Non-Google Employees
2009- Nexus 1
2009 was the year Google launched its first Android phone, the flagship Nexus one. The phone would go on to become a rage worldwide, but it was first experienced by the Googlers. For a lot of Googlers, it was their first smartphone ever and ever since it’s been a trend for Google to gift the latest phone/ hardware to its employees, every Christmas.
2010- Nexus S
The successor to the Nexus 1, Nexus S was the holiday gift of choice in 2010.
2011 – Galaxy Nexus
Google handed out the Samsung Galaxy Nexus with customised Android & Google icon printed backpanels this year. Not only did the employees get a phone worth $7000 as a gift, but Google did it in style. The Galaxy Nexus was the first phone to be using the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android, and lo Google decided to make it just that much more interesting by bundling the phone with the real dessert the OS is named after!
2012 – Nexus 7/ Chromebook
Breaking away from giving the latest Nexus phone (Nexus 4) because of supply issues, this year Google gave the Indian employees a choice between picking up the Nexus 7 tablet or the Chromebook, which came with a Chrome logo themed cupcake.
5. 2013 – Nexus 5
Picking up the tradition once again, Google’s gift was a by-now predictable LG Nexus 5, running on Android Kit Kat, by far one of the most successful phones in the Nexus family. The phone came with a KitKat bar and an Android themed cupcake, because Google is all about the details.
6. 2014: Android Smart Watch
Maybe noticing that its employees were spending a lot of on their phone, Google decided to remind the employees to keep track of time! jokes aside, in 2013, Google decided to break the monotony (and the generosity?) and gifted the employees the Android LG G smart watch, albeit, much to the disappointment of most Googlers that would’ve rather got a (more expensive) phone!
7. 2015: Nexus 5x
And finally, Google is back in its holiday gift element this year with the announcement of the Nexus 5x as the gift for 2015. The employees need to sign up on the Google Playstore, choose the variant of choice and voila, the phone will be delivered to them.
While the holiday gifts are big, Google’s other “smaller, random” gifts include Chromecasts, Android Cardboard, Playstore credits, and schwag like this.
8. Google Chromebooks to charity: 2016
Google’s 2016 holiday gift isn’t quite what the 30,000+ Googlers would’ve expected or wished for. But it’s a big gift to underprivileged children in parts of the world. This year Google has decided to do away with pampering its employees, and instead committed $30million towards charity. A part of this would include giving Chromebooks – Google tablets – to underprivileged kids in the US.
Google isn’t known as the number one employer worldwide for nothing. These Googlers, they’re a lucky bunch.