**Disclaimer: I keep getting emails from people who think I’m a Google employee–I DO NOT work for Google, nor have I ever worked for Google. I am a freelance writer in Silicon Valley, and I write about my adventures on this travel blog. Now that that’s out of the way, enjoy the blog post!**
I got to go inside the Googleplex in Mountain View. See, kids? Dreams do come true!
So how can you get a tour of Google’s headquarters? Well, this one’s easy:
- Work for Google
- Have a super awesome friend who works at Google
I went for option 2.
My friend Michael was gracious enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to give a tour of the Google campus to me and my mom while she was in town. Now, please note that we had just gotten back from touring a castle in Napa Valley the day before, so our standards were pretty high. But because this is Google we’re talking about, we were absolutely blown away by the campus.
To give some background, I absolutely adore Google, its products and its culture. It used to be a dream of mine to work for the search engine giant, but I’m really enjoying working for myself, so now I’m content admiring from afar.
We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the offices, but I did get some photos of the campus. Below are just some highlights of what we saw:
An in-office minibar and keg. Because why not?
Michael showed us his office, and we stopped on the way to his cubicle. He gestured to the right. “We have a minibar and keg,” he said casually and shrugged his arms. “Because, why not?”
Laundry service, oil changes, haircuts, and more…
There is really no reason to ever leave the Google campus.
All the free coffee and snacks you could ever want
We passed countless snack areas and baristas. My mom and I got free lattes to go before we left the campus.
Google even has their own colony of bees from which they can harvest honey that is sometimes made available in their cafeterias. The place in which they keep their bees is named, of course, “The Hiveplex.”
Google has a dog-friendly work environment.
Cots–ahem, Napping Pods
You have to reserve these.
A ball pit (yes, like the ones kids play in at Chuck E. Cheese)
At least this one was adult-sized. And yes, it took every ounce of my self-control to not dive into it.
Relaxation areas and massage rooms
With all their perks, I’m not sure what Googlers are so stressed about…
Google bicycles (AKA G bikes)
If you live in Silicon Valley, you’ve probably seen the brightly-colored Google bikes at some point. Googlers are free to just grab one to ride to a different part of campus, and just leave it there for the next Googler to use.
Oh, and this happened…
On our way out of the cafeteria, Michael pointed out a funny-looking contraption with a steering wheel in the middle, and bicycle wheels encircling it.
“That’s the conference bike,” he explained. “One person steers, and everyone else pedals as you hold your meeting.”
I stare at the contraption.
“You have to reserve it,” he told me, as though he could read my mind and knew I was about to hop on it and take it for a spin.
Cafeterias with free food galore
Ah yes, the highest of highlights. Michael invited us to grab lunch with him at one of the many cafeterias on campus. I was overwhelmed by the options: salad bars, meat carving stations, pizzas, vegetarian options, desserts, and a coffee bar bombarded me.
A bowling alley, swimming pools, treadmills, dance studios
We walked through a flurry of activity during our tour. In one office, a woman was walking on a treadmill. Then we passed these two guys swimming in the Google lap pools:
There was also a dance studio that holds a variety of different dance classes for Googlers to sign up for.
Perhaps in part due to the previous perk, Googlers are fit and gorgeous. I have no photographic proof of this. Just trust me.
Apparently, while I was busy admiring the stupid dance studio, I missed out on the crown jewel of the entire Googleplex: the bathrooms.
My mom had to tell me about the many wonders of the toilets. The seats are heated, and there is a control on the side that lets you…um, how to put this delicately…let’s you wash your front or your back, bidet style, and it even lets you control the water pressure and temperature. And yes, my mom got pictures:
So, you wanna work at Google now?
Get in line. Google gets about a million applicants a year, and only 0.5 percent of them get a job there.
If you’re still set on working for Google, check out this book called Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?* It walks you through puzzles and riddles that’ll prepare you for the challenging questions Google interviews are famous for. It also gives some advice on how to get ahead of the competition.
But if all you really want is to see the campus, there is always option 2. (See top of post)
Want to learn more about what the Googleplex is REALLY like?
I highly recommend this book by technology reporter Steven Levy: In the Plex. Levy was granted unprecedented access into the Googleplex and in this detailed book he dives deep into the intricacies of Google as a company. You can buy it here.
*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you buy products through the links I provide, then I will receive a small commission–at no extra cost to you. If you found this post helpful and chose to buy an additional product through one of those links, then you got free info from me and cool stuff from Amazon, and I get a tiny commission. It’s a win-win!