Hello again everyone it’s Thea here again. Welcome to the third, and final, installment of my Silicon Valley Diary – it’s part 3.
Well I’m not the only one, it seems, CNN Money had a poll of the Top 100 places to work and Google ranked number 4 (to be honest, seeing the three above them, I am rather surprised they’re as low as #4).
So I met my friend M on his second to the last day at HQ. Though staying with the company, he’s transferring out to New York (closer to his family) to work with a new team, but still within in their software division. It was a perfect time to meet him again, as he was very relaxed wrapping up work in California and looking forward to his move back east. It meant that I was able to spend extra time with him to eat, chat, take pictures/videos, and wander HQ.
So here are a few reasons why I love the odd trip to Google’s HQ.
1) The Free Food is Awesome!
It’s an obvious choice, this. There are a variety of different cafes to choose from at Google for whatever you fancy:- salads, burgers, Mexican, pizzas – you name, they have it, and all FREE for, not just employees, but also their visitors! There’s been much controversy over this particular area of Google practices, but I, for one, am a fan of the FREE lunch. (Who isn’t?)
2) They’ve Got Cute Bikes
Because Google’s Mountain View HQ is so spread out – they have cute little bikes that you can ride between buildings. That’s an awesome little nugget but some unscrupulous people have been nicking them and then flogging them on Craigslist which to my mind is rather naughty. Plus how obvious would be out riding a coloured Google-Plex bike (red, yellow, green and blue) in your own random neighbourhood?
3) Entrepreneurial Spirits
There is something rather exciting about being surrounded by all these creative and gifted minds. Google, apparently, chooses its candidates through a highly-scientific methodology and approach to picking staff. So you get a sense you’re among greatness, or at least I do, when I’m there. I end up hoping some of that greatness will soak into me through osmosis.
You may love Google or loathe it, but you can’t deny it its successes.
The campus is in a natural green like setting (trees, grass etc). There are beach-like volleyball pitches, swimming pools, an organic garden (which provides some of it’s ingredients for their cafes), a bronze T-Rex dinosaur, and a garden filled with nautical-inspired statues.
It seems like it would be rather easy to have a little spot of grass to yourself, in or out of the sun, to work on you work. It reminds me of my own Northern California university days, and that’s a good thing.
5) Google’s Liquid Galaxy 3D Simulator
Arguably the most fun part of the trip to Google was the fifteen or so minutes spent in the lobby. Not only are there cool things to look at, like the hanging plane (aka Spaceship One), but they have the most fun 3D panoramic Google Earth simulator called Liquid Galaxy. You walk into it, there are panels that wrap around, maybe 100 degrees, and are several feet high (it’s hard to explain but this YouTube video shows it clearly and from the outside).
Most people, apparently I learned, choose to look at their house (which I did too), but really took a 3-D look all around Glasgow as a whole, giving my friend a virtual tour of my fair city.
It’s an absolute blast, if a little dizzy-inducing at times. I wish I had one of these things in my living room!
Anyway check out my ‘2-min Tour of Google’ video here to see some of the things I talked about above. Thanks for reading about the little trek to Google’s HQ in Mountain View. It’s worth a little visit if you ever get the chance…