Today was the day, the almighty Google. It was everything that you expect it to be and probably more. Everywhere you go there is either the color red, green, yellow, or blue, people of every size and shape walking around or riding around on Google bikes, a quirky Android statue, a slide, basically anything Googley. It felt more like a college campus then a company where some of the most innovative technologies are created. To start, we met up with a Luther alum who works at Google. We walked in and saw a kitchen full of every drink you can imagine, a wall covered in Nurf guns, a fireman’s pole, and a bunch of comfy and colorful couches. It seemed like a playground. We got acquainted and started talking and asking questions. I kinda went into this tour with no specific questions in mind as horrible as it seems, but I really just wanted to see what it was like (if it lived up to its expectations) and go from there. We were actually very fortunate to meet with some recruiters for Google, two very nice women who were very personable and answered some questions that I have had for a while but never had the chance to ask, for instance, how do I convey my personality via LinkedIn or my resume and not get lost among all of the other applicants that have similar structured applications? We got some great information from them like never pretend to know how to do something just to impress someone because it will bite you in the butt and to be yourself in an interview, that’s what people want. I was very grateful for their advice and it was inspiring to hear that sometimes you have to apply to a place multiple times before you get the job (that’s what they had to do even!). After our chats, we went to walk around the campus and went to a place called The Garage where employees have their 20% time. This is time for employees to work on their personal projects alone or with a group. So many innovations come from this time, including Gmail!
After that we went to the infamous Google cafeteria. The food was alright, but not at all the ambrosia-like food I was expecting based on what others said. It was very nest to see all of the options they had though! Afterwards, we had the chance to walk around a bit more and take some more pictures and went back to our original location to hear more speakers. One of our speakers was from Google X which works on the top secret projects of the future, for example Google Glass. Our topic of conversation? Self driving cars. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sold on it (and I am all for innovative technology of the future). The self driving car is well intended, made for people with disabilities who can’t get around. But that didn’t sound like the sole long term goal of the car. He talked as if there would be whole fleets of self driving cars in cities to take you from A to B, maybe eventually eliminating the need for personal cars all together. All I could picture were dirty public transportation vehicles that were controlled by who knows who. Also, they acted as if cars are simply a way to get from A to B, while I believe cars are an extension of yourself. I look forward to buying a very nice Escalade one day, taking family trips in it, watching in the rearview mirror as my kids play. Cars are like second homes and are extensions of ourselves and who we are in this world, they cannot replaced by a fleet. As I said, self driving cars will be very useful to some, but I think the expansion of them would be a money making intended project on Google’s part.
Since I’m being honest, Google was different than I expected it to be. At times, I felt “over branded” to, overwhelmed by the Googlelyness of it all. Don’t get me wrong, I can see how some people would love that and there is no denying that Google treats its employees like gods with all of their benefits and chill work environment (at least where we saw), but I kinda felt like I was in Googleland as opposed to Google’s company headquarters. Granted, I think our tour guides were putting their best foot forward thinking that’s what young college students such as ourselves wanted to see the Android statues, the Google store, and things along those lines (shout out to our hosts for being so gracious by the way!). And a lot of my fellow classmates were eating it up of course, but I wanted to talk about the future of Google, how they were going to compete with others and improve themselves as they have some very amazing competitors that have just as much going for them as Google does. All of these amazing things happen at Google, I didn’t really care about the Android statues. Like I said, I’m speaking for myself and I think a lot of young people my age would have loved to have seen what I saw so I am very very grateful. Google was a very eye opening experience and informing!