My Summer Sojourn at Google
Well, Google was one of the companies I had applied to, but to no avail. Then I get a call one day from their HR person, Mr X. Lets refer to all Google personnel as variables, for fear of violating the bulky 15 page Non Disclosure Agreement I signed. Frankly I didn’t even go through the entire document, and don’t know what all was mentioned there, maybe they required me to keep shut that I ever interned at Google, which means this article should never ever go to anyone close to Google, I request all of you. So, back on track, Mr X asked me to be ready for two back to back telephonic interviews to which I readily agreed. So, I gave the interviews, screwed them up a little, but finally made it through, and got sent my tickets by Mr Y, an accomplice of Mr X. So, there I was, all set to fly off to Bengaluru, for my summer internship with Google. I met a bunch of IITians at the airport, whom I came to know were going to Google only. Good to have company upfront. Well, we reached Bengaluru, and were escorted to a guest house allotted to us by Google for the duration of our internship. So, no house hunting, no haggling with brokers, I was beginning to love this company already.
We reported next day for the beginning of our internships, where we were assigned temporary RFID badges, and then subjected to two full days of mindless form signing, and orientation videos. The form signing was the worse, I could have signed my will somewhere in the middle of those forms and I would not have known. Anyways, I was then introduced to my mentor and manager, the person I was supposed to work under, under whose tutelage my summer was to be spent etc. etc., you get the idea. We discussed a bit on our project, which for the scope of this article is classified, and lets just assume I did something really fancy there, and the next big thing Google does, well it was my project. Sounds cool. :D
Well, leave aside the work, which was very interesting to say the least, even for lethargic logs like us from IIT (just kidding), well, we did spend a LOT of our time in office, so you must get the idea. But no, we did not break the rules and work overtime. It was mostly the other stuff. Stuff like the bottomless supply of Real juices you could glug down at your will, or the Pringles boxes kept at every nook and corner for you to gorge upon. Plus, fruits and corn flakes for the health conscious, and Maggi (Yes, Nescafe lovers) for the ones in the mood of a snack at anytime of the day. We got to know that Larry and Sergei (for the uninitiated, they are the people who started Google in their own garage, quite literally) had an ideology that the employees must be fed well, irrespective of all else. All hail Larry and Sergei!!!!!
Plus there was always pool and foosball. I had played a little foosball before, and due to the overload of friends, was always fascinated by the game. Well, we interns, all novices to the game, played a little bit of foosball, got bored, and then turned our attentions to pool. To our credit, we did get good at pool, and not to sound arrogant, but did defeat a few Google regulars in their own playfield. Foosball deserves special mention, because before Google, I never knew foosball could be that fast. I mean, we saw a few Googlers play foosball, and my god they were playing at the rate of machs, if not ‘c’. I could not see the ball half of the time. A few of us did try to play with them, but we were as much a spectator while holding one of the lines, as we were sitting on the fence and watching. We always reacted a second too late, and either a goal had been scored, or the ball had been cleared by a teammate (thankfully) and we were on the attack. All I did in the initial few games was cheer.
The Google food deserves special mention, as all those who know us would see the change in our waistlines :D. The food was amazing, both in variety and quality, especially if you consider people like us, who had (or at least are expected) to eat mess food every day.
The Googlers were amazing. If you were awestruck by their intellect, you were also left amazed by the unique ways they had fun. I saw a bunch of them playing AOE on a Friday afternoon, shouting on the top of their voices, and forgot the difference between the office and hostel momentarily. There are exercise balls scattered all around, and bean bags too. Another way of chilling out, which we were soon to emulate, was to watch movies in Google, on huge 50 inch plasmas put up in conference rooms. Sitting on a beanbag, Pringles in one hand, coke in the other, and watching a movie on a wide screen, well, very few things beat that.
We also got taken out on a few outings; there was a bowling excursion, followed by dinner at a flashy restaurant. Amazing fun. They sure know how to have fun. We realized one and all, why Google is called the fun place to work at, and quite truly the best place to work at too.
The place has a feel to it, which is lively, vibrant and campus like, be it the interiors, or the multicolored beanbags, or the people sitting in front of 30” screens watching YouTube, its lively. People work for fun, and have fun as part of their work, which is probably why Google is leapfrogging everybody in sight.
An experience I will always cherish, and a place I definitely would want to be a part of. I have had that sentiment repeated to me by several of my friends who have been to Google before, and I can now identify with it quite well.