Google’s new security pilot program will ban employee Internet access

Perks of working at Google in 2007:

“Let me pull this up because there are so many,” he says. When his computer produces a list a moment later, Kallayil makes his way down the screen and continues: “The free gourmet food, because that’s a daily necessity. Breakfast, lunch and dinner I eat at Google. The next one is the fitness center, the 24-hour gym with weights. And there are yoga classes.”

There is a pause before he adds that he also enjoys the speaker series, the in-house doctor, the nutritionist, the dry cleaners and the massage service. He has not used the personal trainer, the swimming pool and the spa — at least not yet, anyway. Nor has he commuted to and from the office on the high-tech, wi-fi equipped, bio-diesel shuttle bus that Google provides for employees, but that is only because he lives nearby and can drive without worrying about a long commute.

Let's check in on how 2023's going:

Being banned from the entire Internet would be tough, but Googlers in the high-security program will still get access to "Google-owned websites," which is actually quite a bit of the Internet. Google Search would be useless, but you could probably live a pretty good Internet life, writing documents, sending emails, taking notes, chatting with people, and watching YouTube.

Somewhere along the way—even by the time I visited the Googleplex in 2007—Google lost their way on this. Employment policies that promote people's autonomy and agency can pay companies like Google massive dividends in increased creativity, productivity, and loyalty. But perks that attempt to squeeze blood from the stone by making the office feel more luxurious than home always obfuscate the nature of the work itself and will inevitably distract everyone involved—a recipe for resentment between workers and management the minute the going gets tough.

Now that the going's gotten tough, it's too Google could never tell the difference between the two.