While in San Francisco, Chris and I were lucky enough to spend a few hours visiting “The Goog” offices – aka “Googleplex” – in Mountainview. How cool is that?!?
Our friend Jeremy Ginsberg who is a software engineer at Google invited us to come have lunch with him and gave us a tour of the offices. What can I say – the place is HUGE!! We drove down wide streets beautifully lined with trees and large buildings on either side. Most of them seemed to belong to Google but there were also others pertaining to other techie companies such as Sun Microsystems amongst others. Once inside the “Googleplex”, it looked like we’d stepped into an American-style university campus. A central courtyard filled with brightly colored outdoor furniture filled a space between 5 or so large buildings. Five fully catered cafes serve free full-on buffet-style meals to employees and their guests all day, there are laundry facilities on site so that employees can bring their dirty laundry to work with them (ewww), a juice bar handing out interesting concoctions of blended fresh fruit (I think I had an apple pie fruit smoothie) on demand, a gym with state-of-the-art equipment in it (treadmills with LCD screens in them!?) for employees to use at their leisure and a mini swimming pool with a full-time life guard sitting by. Oh and a life-sized Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton parked outside in the gardens and the actual SpaceShipOne spacecraft (X1) just hanging over the stairs in the foyer. Those are just some of the perks enjoyed by those who work at the Googleplex in Mountainview. Pretty amazing really.
What I found quite interesting, apart from all the above of course, was the layout of the actual desks inside the offices. Software engineers are grouped into decently-sized offices of 3 or 4. Since Google have expanded so much in recent years, they no longer have enough offices to fit all their engineers in, so they’ve built some futuristic-looking tents that are installed in the middle of the buildings and call them offices. Pretty crazy looking.
Anyway, I think I can safely say that both Chris and I were awe-struck at the magnitude of the Google empire, and very jealous of everyone who gets to work there. And thanks Jeremy for your very informative tour of the place!!! :)