I visited Google as part of Better by Design’s US Study Tour 2012. Whether the vibe of the place delights you or weirds you out (that’s me), it is impressive and somewhat inspiring.
The campus that we visited in Palto Alto was huge. About 15,000 people in over 40 buildings and on 26 acres (according to Wikipedia and Google jobs). But it is what they do with the campus that struck me the most.
Massive food halls, multiple other cafes, several gyms, an infinity pool, a beach volleyball court, relaxation pods, an open-door policy to pets of the canine variety, balloons welcoming ‘Googlers’ on their first day, a replica spacecraft dangling above grandstand-style seating. All free to staff.
My guess is that Google hyper-curates the ‘campus’ experience to select out people of the wrong culture. Any thoughts I might have had of working for Google, which admittedly weren’t many, disappeared the minute I walked on campus. I knew it wasn’t for me.
It really is nicely done. It’s a strong case study for using environment to drive the culture you want.
And with a post depot, dry-cleaning service, mobile hair dresser and mobile car service available on campus, there really isn’t any need to leave. Handy for the employer.
For all the spontaneity and experimentation they espouse, there is little accidental about the campus experience. With a rumoured global budget of well over a million dollars US daily, they’re not playing at playing.