10 Crazy Stories About Google's Early Days From An Insider Who Was There

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Doug Edwards was employee #59 at Google, and today his memoir of his time at the company goes on sale.There are plenty of other recent books about Google’s early days from journalists like Ken Auletta and Steven Levy, but “I’m Feeling Lucky” has more inside scoop.

After all, Edwards was actually there, and worked directly with Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and many other famous Googlers.

Here are some of the best insider tales from the book.

Google once cut off the CIA.

Ray Sidney, Google employee number six, saw the query 'this is the CIA' coming in 39,000 times and assumed it was from an automated bot trying to improve a site's search results by clicking the same link repeatedly. In fact, a user at the CIA had left a book on the Enter key.

Google's annual employee ski trip was a crazy affair, with massive amounts of liquor and other substances.

Google chef Charlie Ayers ran the main party suite, which was nicknamed Charlie's Den. One year, they put it next to Larry Page's room as a joke. Page does not drink, and once told Ayers that 'My mind is money, and that kills the brain.'

Sysadmin Jim Reese was once knocked out by a 200-pound metal beam in Google's leased data centre.

Reese was adding servers to Google's space in an Exodus data centre. They had removed a wall at Google's request, and forgotten to screw the crossbeam back in. Reese was a former neurosurgeon, which prompted another Googler to ask him 'do you think you can fix yourself?'

He thought it would be good for Google's image if reporters wrote about how crazy it was.

It was a take on Google's informal motto, 'Don't be evil.' The system was going to place ads within search results, rather than clearly marked to the side of search results. Google tested it for third-party sites but never rolled it out broadly. (The company never considered doing this on Google.com results, says Edwards.)

Edwards once earned one for his helpful testimony in a trademark lawsuit case against another company that used Google's name for its online store.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin liked to conduct big business deals at cheap restaurants.

The founders celebrated the initial funding of Google at Burger King and negotiated the purchase of YouTube at Denny's.

In the early days, the chef would call employee Chad Lester to eat all leftovers. Once, he ate nine pork chops.

Sergey once suggested colouring Google's home page hot pink just to see if traffic would increase.

The founders often suggested crazy ideas so employees would always think to challenge their assumptions. This particular idea was never tested, though.

When Google instituted free massages, they were so popular that a black market in massage certificates sprung up.

People would use them as bribes for technical services or drink tickets at company parties.

Now, check out what these people looked like back in the day.

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