Google is constantly being named as one of the best companies to work for. It feeds its employees three gourmet meals a day for free. It offers them a crazy array of perks from yoga classes to massages.
So we asked for a tour of the famous Googleplex, hoping to see cool spots like the bowling alley or one of the seven fitness centres.
Unfortunately, Google’s PR folks asked if they could review and approve our photos before we published them. We declined, but we were allowed to the campus and the land Google owns around its offices, including the sculpture garden and the outdoor cafe.
The Google campus is located in a quiet town called Mountain View. Trees are big. Google signs are low to the ground, so the campus almost feels hidden.
The Googleplex is composed of scores of buildings that sprawl across Mountain View, Calif. At the top are tennis courts, at the south end is the 101 freeway.
Here's the main front entrance to the three buildings at the heart of the campus. This spot was featured in the movie about Google called 'The Internship,' shot at the Googleplex.
Here's the volleyball court in the center of campus. It was also featured in the movie. No one was using it this day.
Google's colour scheme is primary colours, used on everything, like these free campus bikes. Employees can use them to ride around the 'Plex. Don't want to ride? You can let these valets fetch and park your car for you.
Here's where they invented Google Glass. I got to try Glass while I was there and was blown away by how well the voice command system worked.
Here's where they create the Android operating system. There's a statue for every version of Android, all named after sweet things to eat.
Here's the newest statue, KitKat Android. There's Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich, Cupcake and Honeycomb, too.
The Googleplex is a tourist attraction. There were lots of people wandering around taking photos. These folks are shooting the Android and Android Doughnut statues outside the Android building.
This is a massive Android statue peeking out of the Android building. Its eyes glow red when the sun sets, so it's kinda freaky looking at night.
New Google employees are called 'Nooglers' (pronounced 'NEWglers') This is the Noogler statue dedicated to them.
This is the famous Google dinosaur statue filled with twirling flamingos. The founders bought it to remind Googlers to stay creative and not let the company become irrelevant like a dinosaur.
There is a statue garden in the main campus area filled with random busts meant to inspire. This is an effigy of Lloyd Bridges to honour his role in the 1960s TV show 'Sea Hunt.'
This is perhaps the most famous, familiar view of the Google campus, the outdoor cafeteria with colourful umbrellas. Primary colours are everywhere on campus, giving it a 'preschool' feel.
A lot of employees commute every day to the 'Plex. Electric cars are everywhere and so are electric charging stations.
Lots of Valley companies have EV charging stations, but Google's massive EV parking lot is solar powered. Solar panels cover the carports.
At the north edge of campus Google built a park with tennis courts, soccer fields, fitness stations, Frisbee golf. Its lights are powered by a giant bank of solar panels.
The park is next to a big swath of public lands with trails and an amphitheater, but Google's park is not open to the public. Its gates have these signs.
Here's the Google logo on recycling garbage cans. (These are in Google Ventures offices that we previously toured.)
This was one of the few indoor pics we were allowed to take in the Chrome building. Note the Chrome artwork on the walls. This is Caesar Sengupta, VP of Chromebooks with a Pixel notebook.
There are multiple fitness centres on campus. We didn't get to see any but here's a picture from a tour Google gave to Reuters a few years ago.
Here's one of the massage rooms, one of the legendary perks employees get, a picture also by Reuters.
Googlers work in cubbies in open offices. Here's a picture of one available online from Google's PR folks.
Here's one of the micro-kitchens located everywhere. Employees don't have to bring their own lunch, much less cook it. They get breakfast, lunch and dinner for free at various campus restaurants.
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