It eventually opened 16 cafes that serve up free, mouthwatering meals to the growing workforce at its Mountain View headquarters, which also boasts swimming pools and volleyball courts.
It offers other enticements such as free on-site medical care, laundry facilities and fitness centers as well as subsidized personal trainers and massages. Company shuttle buses equipped with wireless Internet ferry more than 1,400 employees to and from Google offices daily.
Not to be outdone, Facebook lured away one of Google's top chefs, Josef Desimone, who prepares 14,000 meals a week for his new employer. It also lifted Google's idea of shuttling employees through the Bay Area's congested corridors.
As its workforce exploded to 1,200, Facebook added family-friendly policies. Raquel DiSabatino, who manages consumer marketing programs for Facebook, recently returned from four months of paid maternity leave. Through a program called Baby Cash, Facebook gave her $4,000 to help pay for baby gear.