A shoemaker without shoes: Google’s state-of-the-art Gemini office, where artificial intelligence is being developed, has Wi-Fi problems

The new Bay View building at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, was intended to be a testament to the tech giant’s commitment to innovation, especially in the area of generative artificial intelligence. However, despite the building’s state-of-the-art design, employees are facing unexpected problems with something as basic as Wi-Fi connectivity, Reuters reports.

The Bay View building, which was entirely designed and built by Google, has been experiencing persistent Wi-Fi issues, hampering employees working on critical projects for the company, including the development of Google’s cutting-edge Gemini artificial intelligence software. The building’s advantages, such as large spaces with seating for collaborative work, are overshadowed by the need for employees to tether laptops to Ethernet cables or use personal access points to maintain a stable Internet connection.

The company touted the new building and adjacent campus in a 229-page glossy book, emphasizing its cutting-edge features such as “Google-style interiors” and “an environment where everyone has the tools they need to succeed.” But not the Wi-Fi, it seems.

The company acknowledges that there are connectivity issues, as reported by a Google spokeswoman, adding that the company has “made several improvements to address this issue” and expects the wireless network to improve markedly in the coming weeks.

The situation is particularly ironic given Google’s status as a leading Internet company, and has become a point of contention among employees, especially given the company’s mandatory three-day-a-week return to work policy. According to one artificial intelligence engineer who works in the building, which also houses members of the advertising team, the unstable Wi-Fi has not helped Google convince employees that returning to the office is a good idea.

The employees, speaking on condition of anonymity, expressed their frustration with the situation with Internet access in a building that is supposed to symbolize Google’s technological excellence, due to such basic work problems. Managers even encourage employees to go outside or sit in a nearby cafe where the Wi-Fi signal is stronger. Some of them have recently been given new laptops with more powerful Wi-Fi chips.

Google has not publicly disclosed the cause of the Wi-Fi problems, but employees say that the steep, undulating roof of the 55,000-square-meter building absorbs Wi-Fi signals like the Bermuda Triangle.