In July, I had the very unique opportunity to travel to the San Francisco area to attend a one-day conference at the Googleplex. Getting an up-close look at a major Tech company is something I consider to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it really opened my eyes to the sheer size of the company as well as the tech industry and its culture.
So what is the Googleplex?
The Googleplex is more than just Google’s headquarters. It covers an extensive area, with numerous buildings. Here, take a look for yourself: Googleplex on Google Maps.
On the day of the event, we caught the shuttle from the hotel to the Googleplex which takes you through part of the Silicon Valley. I’d have liked to explore a lot more, but as it was I saw quite a few buildings with signs of companies I recognized. And after a short drive, there we were!
Google, at last!
Google Partners All-Stars
The conference was the Google Partners All-Stars 2015, an event for agencies that achieved certain levels of success. Most of the people I met were either business owners, or people who ran or worked in the online departments of advertising agencies. I may have been the only software developer there, but I was happy to take things in from a development perspective.
A huge thank you to Savvas Kyriakides of Savvy Search Marketing Ltd for inviting me to go as part of his team. This was an amazing opportunity to learn about Google directly from the people who are involved on a day-to-day basis, as well as talk about new ideas, business strategy, and more.
The conference was packed with information on Google’s latest advertising technology, as well as a few really great talks on topics like how Google encourages innovation.
Spending one day, most of it in a conference hall, didn’t allow me to see too much, but I did see some of the culture and was really impressed.
The picture above is one of the cafeterias. Actually, it was more like a buffet with a huge salad bar, Indian food, fajitas, drinks, and more. I came to realize that this was set up for Google employees to eat — for free! And there isn’t just one. The conference attendees were split into three groups, and based on the size of the Googleplex and number of employees, my guess is that there are more.
My understanding, based on observation and inquiries, is that Google employees get breakfast and lunch, and I even heard there are to-go suppers.
And it goes far beyond the food. This is a photo of the courtyard next to where we ate lunch. There’s nice outdoor furniture, a beach volleyball court, two big smoker BBQs, and in one area they had an area set up for massages. Free, I assume.
So yeah, the culture around Google is amazing. I get the impression that employees spend most of their time in and around work, and that it’s more of a lifestyle rather than a job, so this type of environment and benefits really matter.
After the conference, we got a walking tour of the Googleplex which took us around some of the main buildings and to the Google Store.
GPS proof that I was there!
Another taste of the Google culture. Looks like a great place to sit outside for lunch.
And the last stop, the Google Store, where you can find just about anything with “Google” printed on it. I was pleased to find an array of reasonably priced items in addition to the expensive bags and clothing.
That’s it! Overall, a really fun day in a unique location. Obviously, this barely scratches the surface of what is actually there at the Googleplex, and I can only imagine what exists behind the scenes that your average person doesn’t get to see.