TITLE: Google Impressions
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: May 31, 2008 1:21 AM
a couple of my first impressions of being a guest on the
Here are a few other things I noticed.
Calling it the "Google campus" is just right. It looks and
feels like a college campus. Dining service, gym facilities,
a small goodies store, laundry, sand volleyball courts... and
lots of employees who look college-aged because they recently
Everywhere we walked outdoors, we saw numerous blue bicycles.
They are free for the use of employees, presumably to move
between buildings. But there appeared to be bike trails
across the road where the bikes could be used for recreation,
The quad area between Buildings 40 and 43 had a dinosaur
skeleton with pink flamingos in its mouth. Either someone
forgot to tell the dinosaur "don't be evil", or the dinosaur
has volunteered to serve as aviary for kitsch.
The same area included a neat little vegetable garden. How's
that for eating local? (Maybe the dinosaur just wanted to
As we entered Building 43 for breakfast, we were greeted with
a rolling display of search terms that Google was processing,
presumably in real time. I wondered if we were seeing a
filtered list, but we did see a "paris hilton" in there
The dining rooms served Google-branded ice cream sandwiches,
"a San Francisco tradition since 1928". In typical Google
fashion, the tasty treat (I verified its tastiness empirically
with a trial of size N=2)
has been improved,
into "a natural, locally sourced, trans-fat-free rendition
of their excellent treat". So there.
I don't usually comment on my experience in the restroom,
but... The men's rooms at Google do more than simply
provide relief; they also provide opportunities for
Testing on the Toilet
consists of flyers over the urinal with stories and
questions about software testing. (But what's a "C.L.",
as in "one conceptual change per C.L."?) I cannot confirm
that female engineers at Google have the same opportunities
to learn while taking the requisite breaks from their work.
I earlier commented that we visitors had to stay within sight
of a Google employee. After a few more hours on campus, it
became clear that security is a major industry at Google.
Security guards were everywhere. My fellow guests
and I couldn't decide whether they were guarding against
intellectual property theft by brazen Microsoft or Yahoo!
employees or souvenir theft by Google groupies. But I did
decide that the Google security force far outnumbers the
police force in my metro area.
All in all, an interesting and enjoyable experience.
- good, plentiful, and diverse food and drink for employees
and guests alike, and
- good, plentiful, and diverse power cables built right into
the meeting tables.