Friday, April 1, 2011
Free Luxury Units? Google it! [NOTE: This was our April Fool's Post!! We'll let you know if it actually happens!]
Google Inc. (GOOG) announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire 6 Class A rental properties in New York and Boston. The acquisitions will make Google the owner of over 2,100 luxury units. "It's always been our mission to take on existing industries and turn them upside down," said David Radcliffe, Google's vice president of real estate. "Housing is the number one expense for many Americans. Our motto is "Don't be evil." So we're renting these units out at no charge. Yes, for free." Wait, what?! Google plans to provide free housing for residents in this pilot program. Residents will receive top of the line amenities, like Google employees are used to. Volleyball courts, massage breaks, and free gourmet lunches, to name a few. They've also partnered with BuildingLink.com to give residents the best digital experience, and keep administrative costs down. Like most Google initiatives, there is no immediate plan to charge users for this housing service. Instead, Google will support the program through the use of advertising. "We've done extensive research, and one area where users would like to see more advertising is in the home," explains Radcliffe. "When browsing the web at work, or checking email on your Android phone, you get highly context-sensitive, useful sponsored results that help you find what you are looking for. Why should it be any different at home?" Plans include special deals on food that light up in the back of refrigerators. "Our aim is to provide helpful information. The most relevant time to know about food specials is when you're looking at the back of your empty fridge," spits Radcliffe. And don't be afraid that these will be generic ads. Cameras installed in showers and other places throughout the apartments will help Google target the results specifically to your needs, so they can pop up a message from Schick when they see you're due for a shave. Given recent scandals involving Google and privacy, Radcliffe tries to head off any concerns. "The footage from these cameras will not be seen by any human eyes. It will be processed only by automated computer systems. And for any footage of residents in the shower or elsewhere that we share with advertisers, we will first have blur the faces out so no images can be tracked back to individuals." Still, initial reactions are tepid. It remains to be seen how successful this pilot program will be. If the demand is very high, Google will likely expand the program, and eventually hopes to own over 50% of the country's residential real estate. "We believe that the United States will look back on April 1, 2011 as the start of a new era for the American Dream." Just please don't try to place any ads in our dreams next, OK?