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February 23, 2007

Google, Profiled by a Former Intern

Someone who worked as an intern at Microsoft, Google and now works at Yahoo describes his experiences. Regarding the Google period, he says:
The rumors about Google were mostly true: free gourmet food (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and kitchens with cereal and snacks nearby. The chefs would chat with you while you were filling your plate and answer any questions about the ingredients or cooking methods. Googlers are picky — I remember a > 100 email thread on the Mountain View misc mailing list discussing conspiracy theories about why our biodegradable recycled take-away food containers were replaced by cardboard ones. The variety of drinks was my favorite thing: you could get fresh squeezed juices of all kinds or whatever soft drink or tea you preferred. (...) Other cool things included famous people/authors coming in to give talks and giving us movie tickets or books they authored. There were so many great talks every day that I could have spent my whole day listening to interesting presentations by geek (and sometimes non-geek) celebrities. (...)

There were blue shirted security guards everywhere at almost every door of every building. They were like an army, and it would be funny to see recruiters sometimes ordering around a dozen or so blue shirts to prevent visitors from exploring. It always made me wary, and I was quite friendly with one of the security guards and she told us they would watch us at night when there was no one else in the building. Everything at Google was confidential and there were always cameras watching.

And here's a chart that summarizes his views on the three companies:

Ignoring the weird choice of favorite apps and cutting-edge apps (Outlook Express? Yahoo Answers?) and the fact that Google has a research lab, his comparison is interesting.


  1. Everything at Google was confidential and there were always cameras watching.

    Why? Scary. Google's strange.

  2. Hi, saw you linking to my site.

    Just thought I'd ask, why do you think google has a research lab? I am fairly certain they don't. Papers published by google engineers, or "Google Labs" which is more like "new web apps" don't count as a research lab.

  3. I think you should read this post written by Peter Norvig.

    "We've been asked what Google Research is like, and we thought the best way to answer is with a blog. First let me say that we're not like the stereotype of a Research Lab: the place where you hide all the Ph.D.s to keep them away from the engineers who do the real work."

  4. I've heard his talk several times, and that's why I put "not really" in the chart, and I stand by that.

    While he mentions research is done at google, that doesn't mean there is a research lab. Their focus is to engineer products and while writing papers is great, their focus is much more practical. I don't want to get into technicalities but if I were showing people around google and they asked "where is the research lab?", there would be no good answer.

  5. If I asked you "Where is God?", would you have an answer (that defines the place explicitly)? Does this mean it doesn't exist?

  6. Google reaserch is always supposed to be true . Because google is the best!

  7. Who can beat them? - Nobody this century.


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