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Google Your Way to a Wacky Office

Google Your Way to a Wacky Office

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Published by neilosis
Miscellaneous classroom documents, English Academy,Varna
Miscellaneous classroom documents, English Academy,Varna

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: neilosis on Sep 11, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Google your way to a wacky officeBy Jane WakefieldBBC Technology reporter, BBC News website, in ZurichSliding into work at Google HQIf your ideal workspace includes a slide, a games room, a 'chill-out' aquariumand plenty of free food then you had better get your CV into Google.Dotcom companies were defined by beanbags and pizza but Google, acompany that came to prominence after the bubble had burst, has taken thatimage to a whole new level.Meeting 'pods' in the style of Swiss chalets and igloos, fireman poles to alloweasy access between floors and a slide to ensure that people can get to thecafeteria as quickly as possible are all part of a design of its new Europeanengineering headquarters in Zurich Switzerland.The building was designed for - and partly by - the 300 engineers who willwork there.The wacky office is both a showcase for Google's unconventional approachto business and a symbol to prove that Google is no longer a US-centric firm.But as the search giant expands its wings so criticism about its dominance becomes ever louder.The civil liberties lobby is hot on its heels with questions about what it plansto do with all the data it is collecting while others question its expansion intonew areas - with its purchase of advertising outfit DoubleClick causing particular controversy.Google stresses that it puts users before making money but an 18% drop in itsshare price at the beginning of the year proved that it wasn't immune to theUS economic downturn and some question how long its good intentions canlast if profits continue to fall.Access all areasIt does, without doubt value its staff very highly and engineers are particularly important - over half of the company is made up of them.They are best served, according to Nelson Mattas, vice president of engineering, by both a creative work environment and a flat, open workingstructure.At a press day to launch its new research and development centre, heexplained the serious point behind the 'fun office'."The lava lamps, free food and games are all part of the Google culture. It isinformal and a structure that isn't dictated from the top," he said.The unconventional design of the office represents what Google hopes is afree flow of information through all parts of the company."I was very surprised that on day one of joining Google I had access to every piece of code, design document and confidential information, said Mr Mattas.A database of all ongoing projects allows engineers to easily locate expertiseand a scheme known as 20% time offers engineers the chance to take thatamount of time off from their key objectives to "go do something new".It has proven itself, spawning features such as Google News which was built
as a 20% project by an engineer frustrated about the availability of newsfollowing the 9/11 attacks.For Mario Queiroz, vice president of  product management at Google, the balance of work and fun is just aboutright."Beyond the good food and cool officeit is the case that every conversationthat you have here is one of substance," he said.Pepsi versus CokeGoogle recruits from the bestuniversities in the US and Europe andnow has 12 engineering offices aroundEurope.In Poland engineers are working to improve the relevancy of search, whileengineers in Denmark are developing virtual machines to improve the speedof applications.In Israel, engineers have designed Google Trends, a feature that offers users away to analyse and compare various search terms.So for instance users can compare the popularity of search terms such asObama versus Clinton and see the cities where the different US candidateswere most popular."The tool was developed to understand what people search for in order toimprove search but we realised that this information can be useful for everyone else," explained Yossi Mahas, the head of engineering at Google'sTel Aviv office.It has thrown up some fascinating facts. A comparison between Coke andPepsi shows that in New Zealand people are more likely to search for Cokewhile in Turkey and India, Pepsi dominates.Searches about troubled star Britney Spears show a very direct correlationwith her media exposure as well as revealing that there are currently 800ways to misspell her name.London has become the European headquarters of all things mobile andalongside its much talked about mobileoperating system Android, Google isalso working on projects aimed atimproving mobile search and tying itever more closely with location.Search for a café in London andmobile users will be given resultsshowing the distance away from their current location and the phone number of various establishments."The use of location is changing behaviour. People are going to areasthat they don't know and just openingup Google maps," said David Burke, amobile engineer at Google.Users first?Engineers work in small teams of threeor four, which is reflected at the ZurichHQ with small offices, each of whichcomes with the requisite 'bean bag'meeting room.Whiteboards are everywhere, allowingideas to be written down wherever they are thought up and there is a heavy emphasis on the idea that work and play can co-exist.Other areas include a games room, a library in the style of an English countryEngineers apparently love the slideFireman poles offer quick access between floors

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