April 3, 2007 -- A three-day Google search for a pet snake missing somewhere inside the company's cavernous New York offices slithered to an end last night.
Kaiser, a 3-foot, nonvenomous python kept by a Google engineer as a workplace pet, was found alive, returned to its owner and promptly kicked off the premises.
"Everybody's very pleased that this has a happy ending," said Ellen West, a spokeswoman for the search engine giant. "This snake has been returned to his owner's home and will not be not be coming back."
The python somehow broke free over the weekend, prompting a search by Google security that included posted photos and a description of the brown and gray reptile.
The company, known for internal April Fool's Day pranks, was forced to confirm the missing reptile after some employees shrugged off the search as a seasonal joke.
West would not comment on whether the Google employee who owned the pet would be disciplined beyond the company's ban.
"I can't comment on our internal policies with regards to pets," West said.
Of course, the company is not always shy about its internal policies. Fortune magazine ranked Google -- which employs 9,500 people in more than 40 offices around the world -- as the No. 1 place to work in 2007.
The perks at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., are legendary, including free gourmet food, Wi-Fi enabled employee transportation and fitness facilities spread out over a sprawling campus called Googleplex. Dogs are even welcome.
From the sound of the company's online recruiting page, it's going for the same workplace look and feel at the roughly 300,000-square-foot New York office, which officially opened last October and is the company's second-largest engineering hub.
"Working in our New York City office offers the same benefits as working at our Silicon Valley campus: the challenge of interesting problems, a community of world-class technical minds, a relaxed but focused working environment, and access to an amazing pool of computing resources and data," the site's description reads. "And of course, fabulous benefits. Free food, massage therapy, yoga classes, and ski trips are only some of the many things you'll enjoy."
One perk you will no longer find? A python named Kaiser.