Here’s How Google Installed A Monorail In Its Australian Offices

Here’s How Google Installed A Monorail In Its Australian Offices

Do you ever joke around with your coworkers about how cool it would be to build desks out of old cars or have meetings on a houseboat? Maybe not, but if you work at Google, you might want to start — because they might actually make your weird office dreams a reality.

That’s exactly what Google did this week in Sydney. Thanks to one smart-alecky engineer’s weird and totally not serious request, the search giant just installed two retired Sydney Monorail cars in their offices there. Just to be clear, these monorail cars do not zip around the offices like a trolley delivering snacks and shuttling nerds to meetings. They’re being set up as meeting rooms, complete with TVs and air conditioning.

The origin story is what makes the installation especially interesting, though. At the beginning of this year, Google employee Paul Cowan filed a ticket with the internal facilities team requesting that a monorail be installed to make it easier for employees to get to the different Google offices, which are spread out in Pyrmont. A member of the facilities team actually replied and, in detail, pointed out why this was such a bad idea, at one point remarking that it was “more of a Shelbyville idea”.

So Cowan was very surprised six months later, when that same facilities team member called him in for a meeting at a junkyard by the airport, where Google had purchased two old monorail cars. The cars were installed earlier this week for, in the Sydney Morning Herald’s estimate, the cost of around $US250,000.

It’s tempting to just write this off as yet another marketing effort in which Google goes to absurd lengths to prove what a cool company it is. We get it, Google. You’re super rich and you have slides in some of your offices and now monorail cars in another. On the other hand, it’s actually pretty cool that Google’s making use of the old monorail cars, which would otherwise just rot in that junkyard for the next 100 years. The company is also shoveling some cash from its mountains of money to the local government.

Does it make practical sense? Probably not. Those monorail cars are clearly too big to fit in that building. (Apparently, there were only 20 centimetres of clearance when they pushed them in the window.) It also looks like they’re also too small to be comfortable conference rooms. But did it cheer up at least one public transport-loving engineer? You betcha. [SMH via TNW]

Pictures: Paul Cowan and Benjamin Hyneck