Internship at Google 2013
6 Perks and fun at Google
Employees at Google are working hard. Google is making their life better by providing them a perks and opportunities to have fun and relax. This is true for interns as well since they are treated as regular employees.
For example every building has areas with comfortable sofas so you can have some rest between coding. Some buildings have even napping pods where you can take a nap after lunch to be fresh for afternoon work. There are nap pods that booked out a few days in advance but if you don't mind walking (or g-biking) there are always some available. Many buildings have ping-pong tables, pool tables, or even arcades that you can enjoy with your co-workers. I have to say that 10 minutes of ping-pong is fun and effective way to relax between programming sessions.
Figure 1: Pictures of some fun activities at Google.
6.1 Food at Google
One of the most convenient perks at Google is the food. Google serves for its employees (including interns) all meals including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Some pictures of main dishes are shown in Figure 2. I think that they do not need any more comments.
Figure 2: A lot of pictures of delicious food from Google's cafeterias.
Every floor has one or more so called "micro-kitchens" where you can find things like snacks, cereals, milk, non-alcoholic beverages, tea, coffee, and many more. Micro-kitchens usually have two coffee machines. One is automatic which will grind and prepare your coffee in a minute. The second one is a professional machine used in cafeterias by baristas. Before you will be able to use the professional machine you will probably have to watch a video tutorial that is internally available.
Sometimes a barista showed up randomly in the micro-kitchen for a few hours to help you make a delicious professional coffee. That was nice touch and as I discovered later they call him "pop-up barista".
One thing that I enjoyed a lot was the variety of available cereals. I was actually eating my breakfast in the micro-kitchen instead of going to cafeterias.
Figure 3: Micro-kitchen on the floor where I was working.
Another convenient perk in Google are so called G-bikes — fancy looking community bikes that are available for Google employees in front of every building. G-bikes provide fast and convenient way how to move around campus. Google campus in Mountain View is quite large, about a mile (1.6 km) across and G-bikes are very convenient mean of transportation across this distance.
It was interesting to observe how bikes are getting distributed across the day. In the morning G-bikes were mostly near shuttle stops, parking lots, and central buildings. Around the lunch time G-bikes get accumulated near buildings where lunch was served. In the evening the G-bikes were again getting accumulated near the shuttle stops. Google have a special G-bike crew that takes care of the bikes, re-distributes them, and collects broken ones.
You might find G-bikes ridiculous but people are actually using them a lot. I saw dressed up managers in suit riding G-bikes with a laptop in the front bin. My fellow intern friend learned how to ride a bike thanks to the Google internship. I used G-bikes every day and I really enjoyed that experience. I was even chasing a shuttle bus on the G-bike just to avoid waiting for another one.
Figure 4: G-bikes parked at designated area — ready to use.
G-bikes were only useful for biking around Google campus. However, Google provided every intern with a nice bicycle for the length of whole internship. I was using this bicycle for going around San Francisco, shopping, and also biking to work a few times. I could always tell that Google interns are nearby just by recognizing the rented bike type (for example in train to San Francisco).
But that's not all. Google also offers a short term car rental which is free for all Google employees and interns. They provide variety of electric and hybrid cars that are available for renting up to about three hours. This is great for many occasions where bike is not enough. We were using this car for going to gym to do some climbing after the work for two hours — just perfect.
My favorite car was Ford Focus Electric (Figure 5). I liked the interior and the silence when riding. The range of fully charged car was about 110 km (70 miles) which was more than enough for any 3 hours trip.
Figure 5: I in Ford Focus Electric rented for free from Google.
6.3 Intern activities during Google internship
Google organized a rich program for theirs interns. At the beginning every intern selected five preferred summer activities from a list that contained around 20 items. I had a chance to attend following activities:
- Computer history museum visit,
- summer intern kick-off party,
- ropes course,
- improvisation show,
- cruise in San Francisco,
- rafting, and
- pottery painting.
Figure 6: Photos from events organized by Google for their interns.
Another way how to have fun with other interns was to self-organize some events. Intern mailing list was great place for that. There were many initiative interns who were coming up with great ideas. I enjoyed following events with fellow interns:
- Facebook campus visit (*),
- Bike party in San Jose (a few thousands of people biking through city, poor cars),
- climbing at Planet Granite gym,
- hiking at Big Sur park,
- independence day in San Francisco (Pier 39 and fireworks at Ghirardelli square), and
- ice skating.
(*) I have actually a funny story from the Facebook visit. Did you know that in order to visit the Facebook campus you not only have to have a Facebook account but also you have to friend the person that is inviting you there? Well, at that time I did not have a Facebook account so I created one in the lobby on my smartphone. I actually never logged back in to it so congratulation to Facebook for one more unused account. By the way you do not need Google account to visit Google campus (just saying ;).
Figure 7: Pictures of some other self-organized activities with fellow interns.
6.4 Other Google perks
There is no point listing all perks in Google so I will not even to try to do so but I can conclude that there is something for everybody. Having a small climbing wall or swimming pool next to your office is something that is I found quite cool.
This chapter might give you a feeling that an internship in Google is just about having fun but that's not the case. There is still 8 working hours per day and all those perks can be used in your free time. Many full time employees prefer to go home to see their family instead of playing ping-pong.
I would say that having all this perks it's very convenient but not something I would found necessary for my future job. If I want to go bowling/climbing/swimming I have no problem to go somewhere else in the city. But having all of those for an internship? That's really awesome!
Figure 8: Pictures of some other perks at Google.
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Table of contents
- 1 Introduction and application process
- 2 Initial interviews
- 3 Host matching phase
- 4 Internship at Google
- 5 Coding at Google
- 6 Perks and fun at Google
- 7 Conclusion
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