Google Goats 200
Article by George Norman
On 04 May 2009
No, the name in the title of this article does not refer to some new piece of software developed by the Mountain View search engine giant, nor is it a new addition brought forth by Google Labs. It is about the fact that Google, a company that has in several occasions affirmed its commitment to going green, is currently employing a total of 200 goats to mow the lawn of its HQ. Considering that today is Monday and most of you are feeling reluctant about starting a new work week, this piece of news should put a smile on your face (albeit a small one).

“At our Mountain View headquarters, we have some fields that we need to mow occasionally to clear weeds and brush to reduce fire hazard. This spring we decided to take a low-carbon approach: Instead of using noisy mowers that run on gasoline and pollute the air, we've rented some goats from California Grazing to do the job for us (we're not "kidding"). A herder brings about 200 goats and they spend roughly a week with us at Google, eating the grass and fertilizing at the same time. The goats are herded with the help of Jen, a border collie. It costs us about the same as mowing, and goats are a lot cuter to watch than lawn mowers,” explains Director Real Estate and Workplace Services, Dan Hoffman.

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It must be said that Google will use the goats to remove excess brush from its peripheral fields, as it is required by California law. According to this piece of legislature, all landowners must remove excess brush from their lands so as to prevent wildfires.

From a personal point of view I have to applaud Google’s initiative of using an eco-friendly alternative, but I have to wonder about how efficient the CO2 emission cut down will be. Gas powered lawnmowers put out CO2 because they burn gasoline in order to work; goats don’t burn gas, but their digestive system puts out CO2 as well. Well, at least Google’s lands will be fertilized the old fashion way.

As a side note, Google is not the only high profile company to use goats in mowing their brush. Yahoo! uses goats as well, and has been doing so for a while (since 2007).



Tags: Google, Mountain View, Goats, Eco, Mower
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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