Sun Valley: Cost cutting at Google?

July 10, 2009

Has Google stopped offering staff bottled water as it cuts back on costs during the recession? It’s not clear even after journalists spent time with CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founder Larry Page at the Sun Valley conference this week.

Page and Schmidt couldn’t seem to agree on whether bottled water is still available for free at Google’s Mountain View, California campus, which is renown for its generous buffet-style lunches free for all employees.

Schmidt was telling reporters how the company has worked to get itself “right-sized” to perform well financially regardless of the ongoing economic downturn. One of those cuts was water he claimed.

Page, ever the tech geek, backed this comment with data. “We did a long analysis and discovered that reducing bottled water didn’t cause people to drink less water and more soda.” So they got rid of the bottled water.

Schmidt at first agreed, then seemed uncertain: “I’m sure I’ve seen bottled water somewhere.”

Any Googlers’ care to share on the bottled water situation out there?


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

I am curious that how much they will save from removing the free bottled water. This betrayes their attitude or helps save a big money?

Posted by Richard | Report as abusive

time to sell google stocks 😀

Posted by alexey | Report as abusive

I think that it’s fantastic that people are realizing that the bottled water industry was built on “hype”. The bottlers convinced us that we needed their product. Very clever. I have been fighting the bottled water industry, namely, Nestle – Arrowhead – for the last 6 years. They are still trying to take spring water from the “source” all over the country. When they do that, they destroy the local ecology and often water sources that are available to the citizens for their own use. People in the depressed communities, where Nestle comes in for the kill, are convinced that the economy of their small, rural towns will improve once they have the jobs from Nestle. Once Nestle establishes a footprint, they tie up these small towns with limited resources, for years in court. Then, it also goes without saying that this fresh, spring water is encased in a petroleum product, plastic bottles. Who would want to drink the stuff? It’s not regulated. Let’s bring back the drinking fountains!

Posted by Betsy Phair | Report as abusive

Regardless if its free or not, botteld water is very dangeous to the enviroment so since they also like theior green image they should be rid of it anyhow.

Posted by r h | Report as abusive

I was at the Google San Francisco office the other day (Friday), for a media event and there was bottled water among other drinks available in the dining hall. But there were also pitchers of water at each table, so that seemed the “greener” way to go and what they’re encouraging.

Posted by David Needle | Report as abusive

The changes in the cafes are definitely about something green, and it’s not the environment. Google is dropping many food and beverage products to rein in the cost of their cafes and microkitchens. I know several companies who have had their products dumped with no notice and no regard for the impact on those small businesses.

Posted by Jenny L | Report as abusive

Who cares? You just wasted digital space for this stupid topic.

Posted by John Smith | Report as abusive

John, I think it’s a $16 billion a year topic. They don’t have an International Bottled Water Association for nothing.

As for wasting digital space, do you know how many buckets of coal had to die for you to post your comment? O, the humanity!

Posted by Robert MacMillan | Report as abusive