My Trip to Google HQ

Reloader and digital marketing evangelist, Paul Goldston, provides a candid peek under the hood of the world’s largest search engine.

The alarm went off at 6am in my contemporary San Franciscan hotel room; not that I really needed to set it. I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep that night. Why? Because I was going to visit Google HQ in Mountain View, California in less than 2.5 hours.

Like what the International Space Station means to an astronaut and what Disneyland is to an 8 year old child; Google HQ is the pinnacle for any digital marketing tragic or tech enthusiast. Hence my lack of sleep and unbridled excitement!

I, along with a select group of Australian agency representatives, boarded our chartered bus (complete with hardwood floors), and made the long journey from San Francisco to the official Google ‘campus’ in Mountain View. We’d all won our seats on the bus via the Google Engage All Stars competition; a contest in which the world’s top performing search marketing agencies had competed for a coveted ‘golden ticket’ from Google.

We arrived.

Stepping off the bus, I had to hold myself back from letting my inner monologue rear its clichéd head – “That’s one small step for a digital marketer, one giant leap for our agency.”

We disembarked at the new Google partner center where we were about to participate in two days of amazing, informative (yet confidential) presentations. Unfortunately, we all signed non-disclosure agreements so I can’t go into any more detail as to the content we were privy to. However, what I will say is this – Google are definitely listening to agency feedback around the world.

Anyway, that’s probably not what you’re here for anyway. Let me point out a few of my highlights from what can only be described as, the absolute best place to work in the world (apart from Reload Media of course!

Speaking on a Panel…at Google HQ!

Although this wasn’t on the tour, it was definitely my number one memory from the trip. Prior to the trip I was asked to represent the APAC region on a 45 minute panel at the conference. While I can’t go into what we discussed too much, I can say that this was an absolute highlight of the entire week for me. You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face if you tried!

Google Trends Staircase

You know you’re doing well as a company when you can splash out on things like this. This staircase pulls through trending search terms in (what I can only guess is) real time!

Everything is Interactive

You can’t walk far at Google without coming across some cool interactive engagement piece embedded into the walls or even on the floors!

The one below is an interactive timeline depicting both the evolution of internet browsers and the growth of the internet itself. You can play around with the online version of this one here.

Or this one below, which included an interactive floor. Very cool!

Hybrids…Hybrids Everywhere!

Google is a big supporter of ‘green’ living and this was evidenced throughout the campus tour. The first example we saw was the fact that they have electric charging stations in many of their car parks to cater for electric and hybrid car owners. Cool!

The Bikes

The Googleplex is pretty huge (2 million square feet of office space huge). That makes it pretty difficult if you’re running late for a brainstorm on the other side of the campus. That’s why Google have over 1,000 bikes on campus for employees and guests to use at their leisure. However, they are constantly replacing these bikes as they becoming a bit of a trophy for people. In other news, did I mention I went well over my baggage allowance on the way home?

The Android Building

This was definitely one of the tour highlights. This is the Android building where everything Android is born. Out the front you can see that they add a new garden feature to represent each new major Android update. This is the part of the tour where you first start to notice Google’s obsession with ‘snacks’.

Even the Toilets are High Tech

Whatever you do fellas, don’t mess around with these buttons!

The Google Image Search Wall

Another cool interactive display I came across. This one lets you run an Google image search and it frames all of the search results up on the wall.

Yep, that’s a T-Rex! His name is Stan…

The tour guide wasn’t too sure when or why the flamingos came into play but, there you have it, a full sized T-Rex in the garden.

Because they can.

Apparently this full sized replica of the largest T-Rex fossil ever found just turned up on the lawn one day.

Google’s Organic Community Garden

I thought this was pretty cool. There is a community garden at the office that the employees cultivate and use.

Food Truck Festival

The ‘Goog’ sure know how to turn it on for their guests. At the end of the first day they had around five free food gourmet food trucks and a pop-up bar ready waiting for us to gorge ourselves. The Coca-Cola Braised Pork Buns were a standout favourite. They also had a couple of ‘Burrristas’ from Smitten making liquid nitrogen ice cream on the spot. Awesome!

The Refectory

(Photo Courtesy of Dylan O’Donnell)

Ahh the refectory. The Aussies were lucky enough to score a table in the official Google refectory. We were all a little overwhelmed with the sheer amount of choice at this place. It was literally like a gourmet food court but everything was free. My memory is a little hazy (due to my food coma) but I think there were about seven or eight different restaurants to choose from including Indian, Dude Food, Moroccan, Mexican, Burgers, Hot Dogs, Salad Bar, Fruit Bar, Chinese and more!

So there you have it, bit of an insight about what it’s like to walk around the Googleplex and experience the delights that this search giant has to offer its employees and guests. I was so honoured and humbled to represent Reload Media on this tour and will treasure the memory for many years to come.

Note – If you enjoyed this virtual tour, please feel free to ‘tip’ the author with a share on your preferred social network!

Paul Goldston

Digital Creative Director

As Digital Creative Director at Reload Media, Paul looks after digital campaign ideation, product diversification, Reload Media's marketing activity, internal education and basically everything and anything digital. Coming from a background in performance marketing (as Reload's very first full-time PPC consultant back in 2009), Paul confidently balances high-level creative thinking with data-driven campaign performance. Paul is, in his words “obsessed with providing market leading customer service and helping our internal teams to deliver genuine business impact for all of Reload Media’s clients”.