It’s not everyday, or just anyone who can take a visit to one of the most prestigious tech campuses in the country; at least not back when founder and CEO of GrowIT Media, Mike Marquardt, received a formal invitation to the Googleplex, global corporate headquarters for Google. Historically, Google never offered any kind of visit or tour to the general public. If you wanted to visit the campus, you needed to work there, or know someone employed who would be willing to give you a guided tour. Or, you needed a personal invitation by a representative to present yourself, which is a far less likely and rather rare occurrence; reserved for those who really stand out.
Located in Mountain View, Santa Clara County, California, Googleplex now stands as the largest collection of company buildings, totalling roughly 3.1 million square feet. Googleplex was named so in conjunction with ‘complex’ for the collection of buildings on the campus. Founded in a garage in 1998, Google grew to design and construct their own buildings for the Googleplex which continue to expand. The building plans for this massive piece of technological art were to mimic the structure and nature of a university campus. It seems well suited to the nature of Google; merge a techy office with an educational environment for the ultimate workplace environment to both inspire and challenge growth. Like a university setting, the Googleplex offers employees a variety of different workplace environments, not just the typical office setting with a lunchroom and conference room. Though Google has employees, or “Googlers”, at many facilities throughout the world, most of them work right here in the Mountain View Googleplex campus.
What They Do
Changing the world, it’s a big thought that requires a little action from everyone. At Googleplex, they do it in the way of engineering, sales, marketing, finance, legal, corporate communications and human resources. They further refine their existing products like Android, Chrome, YouTube, Google+, Search, and Ads. While improving what works, teams such as Google X put their minds to the future with dream-big projects. Some of these things can even be seen in the making and trial process on and around the campus, such as, self-driving cars and smart contact lenses. This isn’t where it ends though, it’s rather just the beginning. GoogleServe works with thousands of nonprofits to raise money with Google products, while many of it’s employees volunteer time to the community they work in. Big things are happening here at the Googleplex.
While there are many attractions about the Googleplex campus to share about here, some of the standouts include the exquisitely tech architecture and the company’s genuine care of their employees, dubbing it one of the best places to work. Encouraging creative workspaces and building an environmentally rich facility allows Googlers to find inspiration and motivation for projects. With this there are also many services and perks readily available for employees including colorful bicycles for travel between buildings, gourmet cafes where employees eat free of charge, latest tech displays, and quite possibly the neatest attraction, a large monitor viewing live Google searches as they are made. This is hardly a start on what there is to see here; no doubt, Googleplex is one of the most impressive tech facilities to work and visit.
Let’s take a look at Googleplex from the view of Mike Marquardt as he describes his experience with Google and the purpose of his visit.
How did Google reach out to you and what was their interest?
I received a phone call from a representative of Google inquiring if I would be interested in being a guest speaker for an upcoming event. The event would be broadcast live to all Google locations in the United States.
The accommodations were 5 star. They sent a round trip first class ticket, provided for a limousine from the airport to the Hotel and covered all expenses of the trip.
How did you prepare for your conference?
A PowerPoint template was provided with the basic of what topics they wanted me to speak on, such as our focus on building websites that are organically structured and how we incorporate AdWords campaigns to supplement where organic rankings are weak.
When you arrived at the campus, what were your initial thoughts about it? How were you greeted?
I was greeted with the utmost professionalism and provided with a work area along with the agenda for the day’s speaking events. I was then given a complete tour of the facility, which included their dining hall which offered American, Asian, Italian and Mexican cuisine.
Can you describe some of the unusual attractions at Googleplex?
One thing that caught my attention right away were the scooters parked in front of many of the entrances whereby employees could grab any scooter and travel from building to building.
The campus had other interesting features as well like a volleyball court, pool tables, juice bars and bean bag chairs and lounge chairs in meeting and conference rooms.
The main entrances featured glass door refrigerated units with free juice, water and other beverages for the employees and visitors.
In many ways, the Googleplex felt like a visit to a very private college campus. People ride shuttles and scooters, eat in cafeterias, and even ride bikes from building to building. They also provide a robust and varied schedule of classes called Learning@Google, which range from learning sign language to PHP essentials. The public areas are relatively open to curious tourists, much like an ivy league college.
What was your most valuable take-away from your visit to Googleplex?
I think the most valuable take away was understanding how Google supports their partners and employees. We created some good relationships from this experience and support for our campaigns ongoing.