In these times of credit crisis, Santa Claus is ringing in gifts for employees at Google, with the search engine giant doling out the G1 -- an iPhone version from its own stable -- instead of Christmas cash bonus.
Instead of the $1,000 pay cheque as bonus, Google is giving a version of its G1, the recently released mobile phone, to its employees.
"The cold wind of the downturn that has been blowing though Silicon Valley finally reached the doors of the world's biggest internet search engine on Tuesday when Google cancelled its staff Christmas cash bonus," The Times has reported.
According to the daily, this year, instead of the usual $1,000 gift to plump up the festive pay cheque, the search engine major is giving its staff a version of the G1.
"The holiday bonus is a Google tradition -- it is a great way to thank everyone for their hard work. In the past, we have done this in cash. This year, we have decided to give Googlers a different kind of present -- a Dream phone," the newspaper said quoting an internal e-mail.
The Times noted that the customised G1 devices would be given to permanent Google employees in the United States, Western and Central Europe, Canada, Australia, Singapore and Japan, covering about 85 per cent of its 20,123 global staff.
"However, the e-mail explains that for legal reasons the G1 cannot be shipped to other parts of the world, so Googlers elsewhere will receive $400 instead," the report said.
The G1 runs on Android, a mobile operating system developed by Google, and the mobile phone was launched in October.
"The e-mail calls on 'Googlers', as (the) staff are called, to 'dogfood' the phone -- an industry term meaning to test it in-house," the report added.