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A Google Campus Tour

25 Sep
Arraiving at Google

Arraiving at Google

As part of a conference I went to recently, there was an opportunity to enjoy a short tour of Google’s main campus. Now, Google is a big company. This campus we toured is just the central hub (and probably just part of that). There are four satellite campuses to the north, south, east and west, and other buildings housing other portions of their corporate empire. Youtube, for example, has its own building, some miles away. And this doesn’t even begin to count their offices all over the world.

Google Bicycle

Google Bicycle

Because the campus is so large, and because there are satellite campuses, Google provides these cute Google-coloured bicycles. They’re just lying around all over the place. If you need to get somewhere and don’t want to walk, you can just hop on a bike and zip over to your next appointment. No doubt, because of the way these things are, there are sometimes shortages of bicycles in certain places, and a glut in other places. There was only one broken one outside the Android building, for example, and the day after this tour I saw one abandoned on a street corner opposite the Computer History Museum. Perhaps Google will one day track these bicycles and post their locations on their intranet. Perhaps they already do.

Sand Volleyball At Google

Sand Volleyball At Google

Anyway, on to the tour. Google provides all sorts of fun stuff for their employees. Besides the free food (at one point the tour group was left alone near an ice-cream dispenser. Big mistake!) There’s a volleyball court, a bowling alley, video games consoles, and more. These were mostly not in use when we were there (which was a working day), but we did see one or two people enjoying the facilities. Evidently Google has found a way to provide fun stuff to employees in a way that still leaves the employees motivated to spend most of their time on work.

The Dinsosaur At Google

The Dinsosaur At Google

Even besides all these facilities, the Google campus is nice to look at. Inside the building we were shown a display of real-time searches, streaming up from a globe of the world. The lobby has a bright yellow phone booth, which apparently was the first item bought on a Google corporate credit card (before the buyer was told that the credit card was for corporate purchase, not personal ones). We weren’t allowed to take photographs inside, but even outside there are fun things to see. For example, there’s the Tyrannosaurus Rex who likes eating flamingoes, and the sculpture garden.

These are busts of famous explorers - supposedly

These are busts of famous explorers - supposedly

A strange fish sculpture

A strange fish sculpture - what explorer is this?

The sculptures in the sculpture garden were, we were told, busts of famous explorers. That’s what we were told. However, this left some sculptures completely unexplained, such as the one on the right.

The Google Android Building

The Google Android Building

The final stop on our tour was the Android building. On the front lawn are a collection of strange but delicious-looking sculptures – strange, that is, until you are informed that each sculpture represents a release of the Android operating system – Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo (FROzen YOgurt), Gingerbread and Honeycomb. There was no Ice-Cream Sandwich sculpture yet.

The honeycomb scuplture was my favourite – and I couldn’t resist posing for the photo below, of course.

Honeycomb at the Android Building

Honeycomb at the Android Building

 

 
 

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