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Noogler training at the Googleplex

Not only did Google agree to pay me money for working on cool products and technologies, they were actually nice enough to send me to two weeks of training in the Mountain View Googleplex – me and every Noogler that joins our forces. Observe the very first photo I took once arriving here.

At the time, I thought only “wow, nice bikes”. I didn’t imagine that there were actually dozens of such bikes available all throughout the Google campus. I was delighted to find that I could use them myself. The principle is really simple – whenever you see a bike, you can pick it up and ride to wherever on campus you want to go, and you just leave the bike there. It’s very addictive.

The first few days were a bit difficult. I was still suffering from jet lag, and for some reason thought Googleplex was much smaller than it actually was. Then, as I tried to meet with some friends, I found out that it’s actually a lot larger. It cost me a missed lunch, but I got the message, and the next day got me a printed map of the campus and simply rode all around on a bike to gain a small sense of direction.

The training courses themselves are a lot of fun, and some of the lecturers were really engaging and funny (not to mention educational – duh!). This week does a good job at showing us Nooglers just how much we don’t know, and how much we’ll never know because the scope of knowledge is always increasing at alarming rates. We get a first hand experience of this here at Google.

What really amazed me is the amount of freedom people seem to have here. From what I’ve seen so far, 20% seems totally real, and people are encourage to take up those projects. One famous Googler named Meng has taken up “World Peace”, at first as a 20% project, and now on full time.

Another great thing about working for Google, and specifically Orientation, is how many interesting people you meet. From other Nooglers, to lecturers, to people whom you share interests with – and not just engineers! I just had beers with a few Nooglers this evening, and they all agreed – we want to feel stupid, we want to improve, and this is the reason we all joined Google.

I haven’t talked a lot about the cool toys. Every company has them, but the variety and quality here is very pleasing. Here is a very small selection that I bothered to photograph … my favorite was a console version of Gauntlet – I believe until now I had only played this on my computer a long long time ago, and it was delighting seeing this game on a real size console.

I managed to get a little bit of work done as well. As it happens, my “work” right now is simply learning about the infrastructure and methodologies of both Google and my team, as well as learning web development in general. I’ll get productive soon enough, don’t worry.

And now, off to Toronto for two days before I finally return home. See y’all soon.