Maggie Shiels

Google Open House

  • Maggie Shiels
  • 14 Jul 08, 13:10 GMT

Some cubicles are stark and workman like but the majority are gay and fun. I am talking about the work stations of Googlers who have just moved into their new home in San Francisco overlooking the Bay.

Gavin NewsomLast week Google threw an open house and the Mayor of the city, the handsome and very charming Gavin Newsom came along to officially welcome the newcomers to what he hailed as the first truly 21st Century city in the world.

"It's always been a city of dreamers and doers, of entrepreneurs, of innovators. A city always on the leading edge of new ideas. One of the most diverse cities in the most diverse region in the most diverse state in the world. The most diverse democratic city that doesn't tolerate its diversity but celebrates it."

Way to go Mayor!

And by the way, in case you are wondering, the Mayor is kinda in the middle of a political campaign. That of perhaps running for governor when so called 'Governator' Arnie Schwarzenegger hangs up his Uzi in a couple of years time.

The Mayor told an assembled crowd of journos and workies that he had been trying to persuade the Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page for years to open up in San Francisco.

It seems fitting that as the company approaches its 10th anniversary, it should finally succumb to the lure of the City by the Bay. That also puts an end to the daily misery of being shuttled 50 miles south to the Googleplex hq in Mountain View for many employees who refused to live in the burbs.

Forgive me, but always one to bat for the Scots abroad, my charming guide around the
new office space was Calum Docherty who hails from the Kingdom of Fife by way of Greenock.

Leisurely workingThere were still tons of people mingling about and working when we went for a wander around in the early evening...and some as you can see from the photo I have posted take a leisurely approach to getting the job done. Touche!

There is no doubt that a certain level of self expression is encouraged...especially if you like blow-up animals.

Casablanca themed officeCalum also gave me a sneak peak into his office, which he and his fellow cohorts have decorated with a Casablanca 'Play It Again Sam' kind of feel.

Overall what an office! For me it is the floor to ceiling views afforded of the Bay that clinches it, for others it might be the fact employees were given a budget to decorate their offices and work space. Which if you think about it is really clever 'cos along with all the fab free food, games and massages there really is no need to go home because you have just created a wee bit of home here at the office.

Google employees playing WiiI had to remind three Googlers curled up playing Wii games as I was leaving around eight that they had families and a life to return to after work.

Google is no different from big successful firms around the world in creating an environment that is enticing enough for people to never really want to leave.

Mind you this location is a bit different. Slap bang in one of one of the coolest parts of San Francisco means there is so much happening around you that you would be crazy not to want to get out and see it. Besides this area is a magnet for cool hipsters and those on the pick up. I am not divulging how I know that!

So you may wonder why the hell I am writing a blog about this. To be honest, I thought it might be interesting to lift the veil a wee bit on one of the internet's most successful companies to date and see what it is that ensures they come top of all those polls as the number one place people want to work. And heck it might even give you some decorating tips!


  • Comment number 1.

    Thanks for the post Maggie! Interesting and yes, it looks like a great company to work for.

    There are a few chinks appearing in the armour though - they are apparently upping the nursery care costs by a huge amount, and I know there has been some bad publicity around this.

    So, Google are not perfect, far from it, but I for one, love the way they do something so simple, yet something so rarely done here in the UK.

    Making your work environment a good one.

    It's really not rocket science but SO many businesses just don't do this. Incredible.

  • Comment number 2.

    Intentional use of the word "Open" with the work "Google" in the headline? Or was "open house" deliberately coined by Google in this instance?

    One wonders if Google are planning to monopolise the word.

    Nice piece about the gay cubicles or possibly as the 'Governator' might prefer, 'Goobicles'.

    Well there you go, that's my heck of comment for one hell of a blog. Keep them words coming!



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