Here’s a tip, Valley types: If you are entrusted with the prototype of a hot new product, do not, repeat, do not go drinking with it in your pocket in San Francisco. Because you will lose it. And apparently you will lose it in the exact same way, every time.
A prototype of the Nexus 4, the phone that many expect Google will be rolling out next week as its competition with the iPhone, was lost in a bar in San Francisco. It was found by a bartender, who showed it to a regular, who recognized it as a Googlephone, who contacted Google, who then freaked the f*** OUT.
Google, and every other tech company, desperately wants to keep these sorts of details secret for competitive reasons until they’re ready to announce them. The internet has more or less made that impossible.
But, on the night of Sept. 20, Google wasn’t fighting the internet. It was up against a bartender, and Brian Katz, global investigations and intelligence manager at Google (according to his LinkedIn profile — “Google does not discuss the actions of its security team,” a representative says) was headed to the 500 Club.
Yeah, Google sent a heavy to brace a guy who didn’t care and just wanted to give the phone back.
If this sounds familiar, this is pretty much exactly how the iPhone 4 was leaked to Gizmodo more than two years ago.
The entire Wired article is actually a highly entertaining read, not least because the whole thing rapidly turns into a comedy of errors, involving Google’s security guy Brian Katz getting fooled into hanging out at a police station, a riot, and the whole thing being futile anyway.
Mostly it’s a good remind that, yeah, nobody can keep a secret anymore. Not even Google.