Google is hot, hot, hot. This year, the Internet search engine’s revenues have grown at nearly 100 percent and its profits are rising faster. The stock price has more than doubled. And Google employees are benefiting with the usual perks—stock options, annual bonuses (in the 25 percent to 30 percent range), cash awards for innovations that add value to the franchise. And some unusual ones too, as reported in the New York Times : Meals, prepared by company chefs, are free at headquarters; maternity or paternity leave is 12 weeks at 75 percent of full pay. Busses (with wireless Internet access for working while commuting) take employees to the company’s San Francisco headquarters from throughout the Bay area.
And the big, innovative perk: the company’s engineers are given 20 percent of their time to pursue their own ideas instead of company assignments.