Anorak News | Tim Bray Tells Us About Life In Google Ville

Tim Bray Tells Us About Life In Google Ville

by | 14th, April 2010

EVER wondered what life is like working at Google? Software developer Tim Bray has a blog called My Life at Google. The temptation is to believe that Bray does not exist, a made up person to live the Google dream. But he is real.

And he is blogging on the Google web.

It’s easy to dismiss Google as a force for control. But they have done much that is terrific in organising the nebulous web. But like all big corporations they do homogenise what they touch – and they hire corporate types.

Bray is living on a Google campus in Mountain View. He’s in a Google Apartment. Google ville is twinned with Bournville:

The apartments are comfy but don’t have a lot of personality. Each has good WiFi, two bedrooms and two bathrooms; my flatmate was a taciturn Czech who worked on “data security”. Tim, curious: “What sort of data security work?” Heavy Czech accent: “Every sort of data security.” [Silence falls.]

Just call him Josef K in this Brave New World. But has anyone met a verbose data security worker? And maybe the accent was a joke? Anyhow, back in the factory town that Google built. He takes the Google Bus.

He uses the Google WiFi on the Google Bus.

That particular route is circular, the long way around the circle on the way in…

They make film noir about this sort of thing.

At works he’s in the Google cafés…

I lean to the Google bacon, fresh fruit, a little wee scoop of hash browns, and Google coffee, which is perfectly OK.

Do you ever reach the end of a Google coffee? There then follows a insight into the hiring process. This deserves its own sequel:

We considered seven candidates, rejected six, and brought one back for another round of interviews. Urgggh.

Then some Google sushi. A walks across the Google car park.

I’d taken the Google-sponsored taxi from the airport to my Google apartment, which meant that I didn’t have wheels. No problemo, because employees can use these nifty Google plug-in Priuses at no charge, to encourage the use of the shuttles, promoting green-ness and long workdays.

The huge internet firm promotes Green-ness? Google sheesh! Then dinner:

Dinner works like this; whoever’s still there when it gets to be 6:30-ish stands up and says “dinner?” and people join in, or not; during my two aggregate weeks at the ’plex I’ve had I think one dinner alone.

You are never alone at Google.

The Google dinner, eaten that evening at some picnic tables outside the café in the slanting California sun, was nice until the knifing California breezes off the bay drove us back inside. An hour later I took the last Google shuttle back to the Google apartment.

He ends by saying:

Postscript: This is a little unfair. Normal people with lives in the neighborhood, aren’t doing this every day or even most days. And in fact the volume of really-late and really-early messaging is less than at other jobs I’ve had. But, if you like your work, it’s sure easy to get through a whole lot each day.

So. He could work harder? Maybe they’re watching every keystroke, every steps and every bite eaten? Maybe the job is tailored to fit the man..?

Posted: 14th, April 2010 | In: Money Comment | TrackBack | Permalink