Google Turns 12: Top 12 Reasons We Want to Work There

Categories: Silicon Beach
Illustration by American painter Wayne Thiebaud, via Google
Google's gettin' old. It turns 12 this week and the more we think about it, the more we realize our favorite search engine has educated us. Whenever we can't think of the answer to something? "Google it." Whenever we need to find directions? "Google Map it." They organize our news, our Gmail, personalize our homepages, docs, and spreadsheets. Is there anything Google hasn't done for us?

The search engine fascinated us even more with "Google Earth," when it zoomed in on exactly where we were, and showed us waving via satellite.

But what really sets Google apart for us is the counterculture it has created. The way they treat their employees -- who they dub "Googlers" -- is how we dream to one day be treated by every person we meet. Mandatory to keep food no farther than 100 feet away? Free commutes to work? Taped up reading in bathroom stalls? They shouldn't have, but did it with a smile. Check out our top 12 reasons we think it would be fun to work at Google after the jump.

Some of our faves on Meng's wall: ex-Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, Muhammad Ali, Robin Williams, and Tom Brokaw
Meng's Gallery
Forget "wall of shame." Al Gore visited the offices (also known as "campus") in 2001, and employee Tan Chade-Meng had his picture taken with him. He then began a "Presidential Gallery" collection of photographs with many of the place's VIP guests on Google's walls.

Linguists recognize "Google"

The word "Google" is voted the most useful word of the year by the American Dialect Society in 2002. Talk about job security.

Pop Culture Google Languages

Our favorite by far? Bork, bork, bork!, a language preference that translates all of your Google subheads into your favorite Swedish Chef. Later language developments include Klingon, for the Trekkies.

And we thought vending machines were cool.
The Microkitchen concept
They came up with this idea in 2004. It's a small kitchen that they stock with snacks and an espresso machine. Google's founders made it a rule that no "Googler" should have to go more than 100 feet for food.

Google Commuter shuttles
As if having food at arm's reach wasn't enough of a work perk, Google also launched a free commuter shuttle between San Francisco and the "Googleplex." It later grew to service the same area and all eight transit agencies in the Bay Area.


Google Shops
The employee Google store went global in 2004, but its most popular products may surprise you. They've sold over 80,000 toys to date, including 10,472 lava lamps and more than 20,000 yo-yos.


"Testing on the Toilet" (TotT)

Now in most cases, we'd view the bathroom as "private time" where we wouldn't be caught dead working. But at Google, they developed "testing on the toilet," wherein software testers post one-page tips and how-to's inside the doors of bathroom stalls in hundreds of stalls in 30 Google offices. Talk about a fun scavenger hunt.

Googlers get a Customized Treat
Their chef, Nate Keller, customized a classic San Francisco ice cream treat for employees called "It's IT," which is locally-made and with no trans fats.

Kittens on the Intranet
Googlers have a personal office-based intranet, named Moma. It received an overhaul and a new homepage gadget was added that shows a new picture of a kitten whenever a page is opened. Aww.

Having to worry about traffic on the way to an important meeting is a drag. And what about parking? Talk about a time suck. Googlers in Mountain View, California use one of 650 "gBikes" to bike to their meetings. You can spot 'em by an orange flag attached to the handlebars.

Practical Jokes
As if the yearly worldwide April Fool's jokes weren't enough, the Googleplex has a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton dubbed "Stan," who is often "attacked" by different plastic creatures like flamingos.

Gardening at Google
There's a vegetable garden in the middle of the Googleplex, which was planted in partnership with the Growing Connection. Whatever comes out of it is incorporated into their cafe offerings, adding a real meaning to reaping what you sow.



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