Googlers Feeling Quite “Flushed”

Compiled by Jim Gardner
Contributor: Mark Calvey

Always out on the cutting edge of technology, those early-adopters at Google Inc. are already comfortably seated on the next digital frontier. Or perhaps just in the next stall.

The noted Internet search engine has recently installed digital toilets at its Mountain View offices, co-founder Larry Page disclosed to a gathering of the Churchill Club networking group in San Francisco this month.

And not just any old digital toilet. Japan’s Toto, the world’s largest toilet maker, has taken a bidet and added an impressive array of high-tech wizardry to create the Jasmin Washlet, a remote-control, computerized toilet seat with more functions than your VCR. It is all intended to — how shall we say this? — cut down on paperwork.

Forget the reading material. Jasmin will keep you busy setting digital controls that allow you to adjust the temperature of the water, water pressure, and the gender-appropriate direction of the water. As a finishing touch Jasmin provides air drying — adjustable to three temperatures.

There’s a special massage feature, which decorum prevents us from describing, plus deodorizing and a self-closing, hydraulic seat that can be adjusted to your preferred heat setting.

Whew. Even among those, uh, whiz kids at Google, there’s been a learning curve, Page said.

One issue for those taking a break from googling has been that Google’s black bathroom stalls absorb infrared light, confusing Jasmin on when to stop doing what Jasmin does.

But it’s the buttons indicating the gender of Jasmin’s user — crucial information for determining the direction of the water stream — that has been a real problem.

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