Danielle Baskin, right, and friends hung a Halloween store banner on the sign of a mostly empty tech campus on Monday as a prank. (Courtesy Vincent Woo)

Danielle Baskin, right, and friends hung a Halloween store banner on the sign of a mostly empty tech campus on Monday as a prank. (Courtesy Vincent Woo)

‘BOOgle!’ pranksters wrap Google’s SF office park in Spirit Halloween signage

The goof says it all about The City’s empty tech campuses

By Jeff Elder

Examiner staff writer

Someone finally figured out what to do with those empty tech campuses. Open a temporary Halloween store! But it wasn’t much of a treat. It was a trick.

Danielle Baskin, a tech entrepreneur and self-described prankster, made a Spirit Halloween sign and enlisted friends to drape it over the Google sign outside the tech giant’s Embarcadero campus on Monday afternoon – as if the seasonal holiday store were temporarily using the space.

Baskin and her friends posed for photos at the tech campus – mostly empty like all of them during COVID-19 – supposedly turned into a temporary seasonal decorations store.

“Today we opened a Spirit Halloween at the vacant Google Headquarters,” she said in a tweet showing a photo of the prank.

Passers-by didn’t really notice. “It’s eerie down there,” Baskin said, of the empty streets of SoMa. But Twitter sure noticed. At press time, Baskin’s tweet of the prank had been retweeted nearly 500 times.

Baskin, developer of an app that connects phone callers, said there was a message behind the prank. “There’s so much real estate in San Francisco, but simultaneously so many people looking for space.”

Tech campuses have been struggling to use the sprawling campuses they built before COVID-19, with workers mostly remote.

Baskin said security guards appear to have taken the sign down after about two hours. She said she hasn’t heard from Google. The search giant did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did Spirit Halloween.

It wasn’t Baskin’s first prank on a tech company. One year, at the Salesforce Dreamforce conference, she placed a tent inside the campus of the massive tech gathering and listed it for rent on Airbnb for $200 a night. “A real deal,” she points out.

Twitter users loved her prank.

“Omg yaaaas BOOgle,” one responder said. Another asked simply, “Are you hiring?”

jelder@sfexaminer.com

technology

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