It's been fun, all! Back to work for me!

Someone requested that a Google employee to do an AMA. I won't violate my NDA, but I'll tell you what I can.

The questions posted were:

When were you hired to work for google?

March 2009

What education did you have at the time?

BS in Computer Science and Math, PhD in Computer Science

What is the pay like?

I think it's pretty great.

What is the enviroment at your workplace like?

Fun. It's kind of like a playground for grownups. We have gym facilities, coffee bars, cafes, scooters to ride around on, giant lava lamps, a music room with all kinds of instruments, video game rooms, arcade machines, ...

How do you feel about Google's ambitious inventions and prototypes like the Google glasses?

I love when we do crazy stuff like that. I always hope I get a chance to try some of it out before it's released.


EDIT: I obviously don't have a PhD in Reddit formatting.

DOUBLE EDIT: I should make it perfectly clear by the way that I will be speaking for myself and not as a representative of the company.

Comments: 1997 • Responses: 50  • Date: 

Chachbag953 karma

Do you solve most of your problems at work by Googling them?

IAmAGoogler1199 karma

A surprising number. It's kind of scary. :)

themailmanC193 karma

Preemptive follow up, if you Google "Google" from within Google, is the result anything like what you get by saying "Bloody Mary" into the mirror three times? Tytytyty

Chachbag107 karma

I believe that would be dividing by 0 which would make Google crash and the internet would cease to exist.

IAmAGoogler228 karma

Lose more good server processes that way...

GrinningPariah922 karma

As someone who works for Microsoft, "sup". :P Always interesting to see how the other side lives. From what I heard, you guys can expect about the same pay, better perks, but to work harder for them. Which brings me to my first question!

Is it considered taboo in Google culture to go home at 5pm, like it is a lot of places in the software industry lately?

Also, do you "drink the kool aide" and get behind Google products even when they are not so well received? As a follow up, how do you feel about G+?

And finally, what do you think of other company's efforts to step to Google?

IAmAGoogler187 karma

  • I don't think it's taboo to go home at 5. I sometimes go home much earlier. My personal policy is that if I realize I am being entirely ineffective (say, I'm overly tired or having a bad day, or just not in the groove), I won't waste my or Google's time by sitting and staring at my workstation - I go home. On the days where I'm in the groove and making great progress, I'll keep working from home in the evenings (because I want to).

  • I don't usually personally promote products I'm not actually excited about. I actually really like G+ for what it is. Products have to be social these days, because the internet and the web is about people now, not just documents. So without G+, all Google products would have to either have no social features, or each have separate friend lists. Neither of those is acceptable.

  • Competition is good. I'm a user too, remember? One of the awesome things about the web is that the hurdles for competition are so low, so everyone keeps everyone else on their toes. Ultimately we wind up with better products.

CoR3upTeD481 karma

Are Bing jokes a common occurrence?

IAmAGoogler1163 karma


bendibus470 karma

"It's not secret or anything, but I don't want to out myself."

Works in Kirkland. Started in 3/2009. BS in CS + Math, PhD in CS. Was intern before converting to full time. No previous jobs before coming to Google. Not involved in a 20% project.

I, another Googler, have uniquely identified you.

IAmAGoogler485 karma

Oh, I know that someone inside could identify me. Probably just by "Started 3/2009", given that there were only 12 incoming people in my Noogler class. I'm not trying to hide from Google, just from everyone else. :)

themailmanC353 karma

How encouraged is daytime (or anytime) napping?

IAmAGoogler688 karma

There are napping pods specifically designed for that purpose! Many offices also have quiet rooms where you can go recline way back in a comfy chair and nap.

shakensunshine189 karma

That sounds really awesome. I wish my office had that. How comfortable are those napping pods?

IAmAGoogler935 karma

I don't use them. I sleep in the massage chairs ;)

cunningrunt111258 karma

I have a "final interview" on site at Google next week. Do you have any advice for me? (Hardware, not SW)

IAmAGoogler348 karma

Get your rest. Know your basics. Dress comfortably.

I don't know how HW does interviews, but for a SWE position, I'd say make sure you communicate your thought processes. If the interviewer doesn't know what you're thinking, they can't help you out.

Release_the_KRAKEN224 karma

  • Have you ever fapped on the Google campus?

  • Whats the food like?

  • Do you get good dessert?

  • Sort of video games are there?

  • Explain these scooters.

IAmAGoogler304 karma

  • No
  • The food is pretty great. Here were the menus from the two cafes today:
  • Dessert varies over time. Right now we have a bakery in one of the cafes where I think they are just trying to make us really fat. They also have cakes and cookies and so forth every day. There's also a froyo/soft serve machine that is pretty great. On the main campus they have a lot more options. But yeah, we get good dessert.
  • We have giant TVs with Wiis, XBox360s, a room devoted to Rock Band (soundproofed so we can play as loud as we want)...
  • Just basic Razor scooters for getting about. They're more for fun than actual transportation (as opposed to the NYC office, where they actually are used because the office is so large).

pwnsauce187 karma

I see the Froyo flavors are getting more normal! My favorite was vanilla + blueberries + M&Ms. Last summer, I had no idea what they were thinking with some of the combinations such as Tomato+Basil. Then again maybe I'm just a boring person.

I was an intern at your office last summer. My reddit name is/was my Google name. Look it up :)

IAmAGoogler364 karma

I didn't have to look it up, I recognized it instantly, Garrett :)

kylep93222 karma

In general, how much freedom do you have while on the job?

IAmAGoogler426 karma

More than I ever thought would be possible at a "real job".

ScubaDivingElephant211 karma

Could you take a picture of the music/instrument room?

IAmAGoogler285 karma

Sure. I'll try to remember to do that tomorrow.

Teddy_Westside14191 karma

How do sick (or "sick") days go down?

IAmAGoogler369 karma

Just like tylenol. As needed.

cjdavda38 karma

Does your liver die if you take too many?

IAmAGoogler81 karma

Depends on what you're doing on your sick days ;)

superhockeyguy14170 karma

I heard you guys have goats roaming the property to keep the weeds down, as well as a T-Rex fossil named Stan. Fact or fiction?

IAmAGoogler260 karma

I think the goats were only an occasional thing on the Mountain View campus. I don't actually know what the current status of that is, though. I've seen the T-Rex, but didn't know it was named Stan.

superhockeyguy1487 karma

What campus are you currently working at?

IAmAGoogler168 karma

Kirkland, WA.

choompaloompa162 karma

Does anyone work from home or is it compulsory to work at the office?

IAmAGoogler297 karma

Tons of people work from home. If you can do your job, there's no real requirement on where you are. Of course, there are advantages to being in the office - face to face time with coworkers, being able to be in a meeting in person, etc. But there's no requirement that you be in the office at any time.

SinSha134 karma

What was the application process like? What does Google look for in an employee?

IAmAGoogler186 karma

My application process started with an internship, which involved submitting a resume and passing two phone interviews. From the internship I did a "conversion", which involved several more interviews plus the feedback from my internship.

If you want to know what Google is looking for, I suggest you read Steve Yegge's blog entry:

brrose115 karma

Do Jon Skeet or Steve Yegge ever send software engineers mass internal emails?

Ever talk to either? Always wondering what its like working for a company that has highly recognizable developers.

IAmAGoogler175 karma

  • Yes.

  • Yes - I pass Steve Yegge in the halls all the time. Also see him playing a lot of foosball.

Bijan641148 karma

I like to think that he walks down the halls high-five'ing people as he passes them.

If it's true, don't respond.

IAmAGoogler40 karma

Sadly, no.

[deleted]108 karma

Do you get the extra 20% personal time that many employees enjoy? If so, do you use this time for personal development or company time. I am genuinely interested in this because I am thinking of incorporating this to my own career and industry. Thanks for doing this AMA!

IAmAGoogler176 karma

I feel like I could take it if I wanted to. I don't currently use it because I've been really focused on my main project lately. But we are definitely encouraged to use 20% time.

globalsunshine92 karma

Is it true that Google (and most software companies) don't like older people? It seems like there is only a small population of software engineers over the age of 40. Do you know what happens to them or is this just a myth?

IAmAGoogler140 karma

Google actually has an internal group just for older folks (along with all sorts of other demographics). From what I understand, they do everything they can to prevent anyone from being discriminated against due to age. But I don't work for HR so I can't give you a very detailed answer.

evilteddybear11187 karma

What's your normal daily work day like? How did you get the opportunity to work there? Must be fun!!:D

IAmAGoogler222 karma

My normal day consists of making sure I'm caught up on email, possibly attending a meeting, maybe conducting an interview, spending the rest of the time coding, reviewing others' code, hitting the gym or going for a run, checking Reddit (of course!)...

cpp_is_king492 karma

spending the rest of the time coding, reviewing others' code, hitting the gym or going for a run

Here it is folks. An actual brogrammer.

IAmAGoogler83 karma

I also spend quite a bit of time polishing my chrome aviators.

carBoard70 karma

If you can answer these:

  • what projects have you worked (that have already been developed)
    • like specifically what software department are you on
  • How do you feel about Google's new licence agreement policy that was controversial
  • how much experience did you have going into your job?
  • do you work at googleplex or another facility of google

Thanks :)

IAmAGoogler144 karma

  • I'm not going to answer the first one because that would be a little too identifiable :)
  • My personal feeling is that people really misunderstood what was going on. In an age where people complain so much about how complicated EULAs and TOS are, a company comes along and says that instead of having to read 60 different ones, you only have to read this one, which has been made much easier to understand. What happens? People cry "Evil!". It gets old seeing that as the reaction to every last thing Google does.
  • I didn't really have a whole lot of industry experience outside of a Google internship.
  • I work in the Kirkland engineering office.

carBoard43 karma

Thanks for the answers, I agree about the new policy.

Ok last one, favorite google application/feature to use and favorite one that you're glad your company produced

IAmAGoogler104 karma

I use Gmail (including chat) and Docs very heavily in my personal life. Also, Android.

Rayquaza223363 karma

What was the hiring process like? How did you come to work for Google?

Do you guys have fantasy sword fights or anything while riding these scooters?

IAmAGoogler288 karma

Fantasy sword fights? More like lightsaber duels.

hoteljuliet59 karma

  • How much "brainstorming" time do you get in a day?

  • Is there a gymnasium at Google?

  • Has anyone ever wrecked while scooting?

IAmAGoogler112 karma

  • It varies a lot depending on what phase of a project I'm in. For a while last year, I spend like 90% of my time brainstorming. Today I spent 0%, since I was just trying to get some code checked in.

  • We have a fitness center, yes. I think other offices have more elaborate gymnasia.

  • Oh yeah. I have. The ones with the small wheels don't really do well on big cracks in the pavement.

meistersinger57 karma

Do you ever feel a bit overqualified for your position, having a PhD and everything?

IAmAGoogler162 karma

Nope. Sometimes I actually feel like a real dummy, though, because I'm stumped by challenging problems on a regular basis. Fortunately, there are lots of other people who are way smarter than me working around me to back me up. :)

unknownryan56 karma

What alternative employees does Google employ? Meaning aside from computer/technology people?

IAmAGoogler117 karma

Salespeople probably make up the biggest non-engineering chunk. Gotta sell those ads!

skepticofskeptics52 karma


IAmAGoogler74 karma

I absolutely have not. I've really only seen people at every level routinely do their best to avoid anything of the sort, or even something that could be construed as anything of the sort.

liucifer51 karma

What's the dress code like?

IAmAGoogler202 karma

I don't think we have one. I think it falls under the other codes, primarily "don't be a jackass".

But I've seen folks in suits, kilts, pajamas, sweats, etc.

tmoore1o49 karma

  • Are most of the employees there focused on new projects, or maintaining/improving old ones?
  • What has been the biggest difference between working at Google and working at your previous job(s)?
  • What are the other employees like there?
  • What are you currently working on?

IAmAGoogler78 karma

  • I don't actually know. A lot of people work on improving existing stuff.
  • My previous job was grad school, so it's nice to actually make money :)
  • The other employees are my favorite part of working at Google.
  • Not gonna say. It's not secret or anything, but I don't want to out myself.

Frajer44 karma

What would you say is the secret to google's success?

IAmAGoogler111 karma

That would be violating my NDA ;)

Honestly, though, for the most part there really is a culture of "focus on the user". A lot of Googlers, myself included, are really proud to work at Google. We do actually really try hard to do "the right thing" all the time.

choompaloompa44 karma

What is the use of Google products like inside Google, like would it be acceptable to submit a report or document using Docs or have a professional long distance meeting over a hangout?

Also brownie points in a Google interview if I were to know the Go or Dart programming language?

IAmAGoogler119 karma

Extensive. If anyone submitted a report or doc with something other than Docs, they'd get funny looks and probably get mocked mercilessly ;) We use hangouts all the time. We really believe in "eating our own dogfood".

You might get brownie points, but I'd spend that energy working on fundamentals and the big 3 languages first.

BobLobLawsLawFirm40 karma

What has been your favorite custom "Google" image so far?

nathanmurfey38 karma

what is your relationship like with your superiors? could you easily talk to Sergey Brin or Larry Page if you bumped into them in the hallway?

IAmAGoogler67 karma

It would be unlikely for me to bump into them at my office, since they don't come out here all that often. But I've known people who sat down in cafes in Mountain View or NYC and then realized they were sitting next to Eric/Larry/Sergey.

Fali9538 karma

what is your take on bills like CISPA and SOPA?

IAmAGoogler75 karma

My personal take is that I'm not a fan of either, but SOPA was much worse.

Dickie7138 karma

I'm always amazed at how bad the software is companies use to develop their own software, so I'd love to know:

  • What version control software do you use?
  • What defect tracking software do you use?
  • How do you promote your code bases to environments?

IAmAGoogler88 karma

We're meta - we use our own software for all of those things.

LivingLeper36 karma


IAmAGoogler60 karma

They vary depending on the target audience. We have some parties that are really targeted at families, and those can be a lot of fun for folks with kids. Other parties the company will rent out a sweet venue, get some live music, awesome catering. It's a good time, for sure.

Omegaoaties36 karma

What languages do you need to know to be considered for working at a company such as Google? (I obviously mean computer languages)

IAmAGoogler70 karma

Strictly speaking there is no requirement. That said, the main languages we use are C++, Java, Python. If you don't know one of those cold, you won't make it through the interview process (for engineering). You'll do better if you know 2 or more of them cold. That said, I've seen people get by on "know some Java, some C++, but haven't used anything but C# in the last 5 years".

lookbehindu31 karma

How much "public Google searching" do Google employees do to solve a problem? I guess a better way to phrase it is there an intranet that Google employees can search for answers instead of going to the "public" Google?

Are there any Google services Google employees can't use?

IAmAGoogler55 karma

*We do have an intranet we can search, but it's not really much different from any other company. We use the "public" Google all the time.

*Not that I know of.

guayo8930 karma

so when can I go on google street view and look for my car? I was going to work today and saw the google street view car drive right past me :) Thanks.

IAmAGoogler92 karma

I don't know what the lead times are for processing that data. However, I love watching the bits in street view where the car decided to go through the Del Taco drive thru or whatever it was. That was hilarious.

Ronoc17530 karma

What would you recommend studying/majoring in college to get a job at Google?

IAmAGoogler64 karma

Computer science all the way if you want an engineering job. Of course, Google hires accountants, salespeople, massage therapists,...

choompaloompa30 karma

What advise would you give to someone hoping to work for Google once they finish their degree. (Internships? Specific programming languages to learn? Quitting Reddit? ect)

IAmAGoogler58 karma

Do internships. Get real world experience. Do a Google internship, as that will allow you to significantly decrease the noise in the hiring process. Languages: C++, Java, Python. Read the blog entry I linked above.

devl2928 karma

Has Google ever had projects in the video game industry? I could only imagine the things they could come up with.

Penroze22 karma

How many hours a week do you work?
How many hours a week does the typical Googler work?
Years ago I heard they even put software problems on the bathroom stalls. Is this still true?

IAmAGoogler45 karma

I don't know how many hours a week I work. I think it varies. But probably around 40, on average. More when I'm more excited about work. Less when I'm not.

I don't know about the typical Googler, but we try hard to get people to strike a good work/life balance.

I haven't seen software problems, but we do post all kinds of useful advice. Sometimes it's advice about software practices like unit testing. There's one that's been there for a while now trying to tell me all about what the liver does.

MacAnLuin20 karma

How much money do you make? Also, how big is the campus? Thanks :D

IAmAGoogler49 karma

My salary is O($150K). Last I checked the Kirkland campus had about 550 people. That is probably an underestimate, since we're growing so fast.

savageotter19 karma

What is the coolest thing about working for them / working at the HQ?

IAmAGoogler54 karma

My coworkers. Seriously.

savageotter21 karma

Any funny stories that you can tell?

IAmAGoogler42 karma

Once, I had a job start crashing in production and I could not for the life of me figure out what was going on. Nothing had changed, the job was just suddenly crashing.

A fellow Googler ultimately diagnosed the problem: a faulty CPU was calculating branch offsets incorrectly in a very specific situation and thus important instructions were being skipped. To this day I have no idea how they figured it out so quickly.