A specialist bidet company has proposed a new option for disgruntled Googlers.
Imad KhanSenior Reporter
Imad is a senior reporter covering Google and internet culture. Hailing from Texas, Imad started his journalism career in 2013 and has amassed bylines with The New York Times, The Washington Post, ESPN, Tom's Guide and Wired, among others. He also hosts FTW with Imad Khan, an esports news podcast in association with Dot Esports.
Googlers upset by the company's decision to remove bidets at its California offices may soon have a new option.
Tushy, a bidet specialist company, stepped into the steaming pile of controversy earlier this week, offering in an open letter to send Google its travel bidets to help employees "wash away those pesky poop particles." The portable bidet, which looks like a squeezable water bottle, is handheld.
The obvious PR stunt comes amid swirling discord at the search giant, which annoyed its staff by removing bidets, toilet attachments that offer a strategically targeted stream of water to clean behinds, from its facilities. Posts to Twitter indicate that removal of the bidets, made by Japan's Toto, began in March. That set off an emotional response from Googlers, who are returning to the office after two years of pandemic. Google is requiring employees to come into the office three days a week beginning on April 4.
In a now-deleted tweet, Yasmine Evjen, a developer relations lead at Google, expressed her frustration in a message punctuated with emojis.
Technology publication Protocol reported earlier that Googlers upset by the removals had posted their discontent to an internal meme page at the company.
"The removal of bidets in the office is my #2 issue with RTO," one employee reportedly posted.
Disappearing bidets are another item on a growing list of complaints employees have lobbed at Google leadership. An internal survey showed employees are dissatisfied with compensation and the potential for promotion. A recent lawsuit alleges that Google shows bias against Black employees and the company recently settled a separate suit with six employees over workplace activism. Last month, 500 employees signed a petition for "unjustly retaliating" against a product marketing manager for criticizing a contract with the Israeli military.
Google didn't respond to a request for comment.
A maintenance ticket regarding the bidet removal seen by Protocol included a reply from a facilities manager at Cushman & Wakefield, a real estate services firm that's contracted by Google. The facilities manager reportedly said removal of the bidets would help Google meet an environmental target that includes switching to recycled water systems, which aren't compatible with bidets.
Cushman & Wakefield didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
While Googlers may miss their bidets, research has delivered both positive and mixed results about their use. Some research suggests that bidets can lead to components being contaminated with bacteria, raising the risk of cross infection. Anecdotal evidence suggests it helps patients with mobility issues, such as Parkinson's disease or arthritis.
"There's no evidence that bidets increase or decrease the risk of urinary tract infections,'' said Dr. Shyam Sukumar, an assistant professor of urology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
Attachable bidets can be found on Amazon for as little as $29. Google, however, opted for units manufactured by Toto, a company known for luxurious toilets that can cost more than $1,000. Images posted online suggest Google was using Toto Washlet C2 seats, which are fitted to an existing commode. The heated seats include a dryer and deodorizer. They retail for $405 on Amazon.
Tushy's portable bidet is a less elegant lavatory accoutrement. But the company says it "won't throw a wrench" in Google's recycled water system as it can use potable water. Zac Bensing, associate director of product development at Tushy, said in an email that filters can be used to make recycled water all the safer.
"Based on our experience, filters can easily be installed with most bidet attachments to prevent damage typically caused by minerals and other deposits found in varying water systems."