This Friday the London360 team was invited to the headquarters of Google UK in Notting Hill Gate for a day of insight presentations, project updates, a fully-fledged tour, as well as the opportunity to try their oh-so-famous ‘Google food’!
Google is well known worldwide as one of the best places to work as a media professional. With exciting and youthful vibes, free food at every corner, on site restaurants, gyms and crèches, and a generally awesome environment, they give their employees little reason to leave the premises. This convenience improves moods and attitudes in the workplace, encouraging positivity and increasing productivity. The tech giant not only has these incredible facilities but operates unique policies that promote a special Google work ethic. These give employees even more reason to feel good and want to work there. When initially interviewing for a position at Google, one of the biggest deciding factors in hiring a candidate is calculating their level of ‘Googliness’. This is a search for goofiness and it allows people to show their weird side. This could be a strange career background or unusual hobby. Where other employers could see such qualities as odd or unattractive, Google actively seeks them out, with aims to utilize and harness them and create new, innovative opportunities for the company. This isn’t Google’s only unusual approach to work ethic. They also will their workers to fail so that they don’t leave a stone unturned, following longtime CEO Eric Schmidt’s mantra, ‘please fail quickly – so that you may try again’! Google also ensure each and every employee spend a fifth of their time working on personal projects which don’t relate to their day job, under their ‘20% Time’ policy. This has resulted in some of their biggest successes, like G-mail, which is now the go-to email hosting platform.
At its core Google is a search engine and let’s face it, they still do a pretty great job at providing the world with the best search results. Nowadays, however, it has grown into so much more. Google is an empire, synonymous with words like internet, tech and the future. They design phones, cars, apps, health products – the list goes on and on. Google will stop at nothing to get the world involved with their missions and aims to achieve unlimited internet access for all. We heard about ‘Project Loon’, a fascinating scheme which uses balloons in the sky and wind technology to provide internet data to areas around the world without access! ‘Project Iris’, another mind-blowing idea, has allowed those needing to measure blood glucose to do so with a simple contact lens. Erasing the need and hassle of needles, the lens contains a chip that connects to your phone to accurately measure the levels from your tears.
After getting a feel for their one-of-a-kind work ethic and hearing all about their futuristic projects, we were offered a tour. Let’s start by saying Google offices are like no other. Whoever went in there and created the magical world deserves all the praise they get – it’s really, really fun. The place is surrounded by ball-pits and edgy lampshades, it’s littered with the latest NME copies, and each and every room is packed with the tastiest of treats and snacks. The décor is thematic and encapsulates you into different magical worlds as you walk through the building. There’s a gym with scaling views of London, a library with all the books you could ask for and even a Town Hall. There are booths to work in, chairs to chill in and pods to sleep in. Essentially you could live there and, to quote Fatboy Slim, ‘Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat’!
If you’ve talked to anyone who’s visited Google, you’ve probably heard about their food. The stuff is in absolute abundance and it’s all free. Employees get breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner laid on and this is no sad canteen or fast-food joint. Sushi chefs, fresh pressed juice bars and continuous stock replenishment make this a step above the rest. If this wasn’t enough, between meals drift into one of the many kitchens for a snack and a half. Even in these little areas there are barista-style coffee machines, drawers of food and fridges full of ice-cold drinks. Interestingly the food and drink that they stock is chosen unknowingly by google users. The drinks stocked, for instance, are the most popular of the moment as searched online.
If you can, try and pop down to Google for a visit and gain some great insight into their amazing tech world! Check out my vlog below which I made the previous time I visited when I was a London360 Junior reporter. The short video asks whether visitors care more about getting a job at Google or trying their food… we are simple creatures!
This piece is also published at www.london360.org/author/josepha