Snooping around the Googleplex

Snooping around the Googleplex

Summary: Dot-com excess is alive and well at Google but does that mean it will go the same way as Netscape?

TOPICS: Tech Industry

Lava lamps in the foyer, random dogs running free down hallways, scooters, beer kegs in the garden and the Grateful Dead's chef serving up gourmet food on tap. This may sound like a hit-list of the crazy excesses of dot-com frippery that typified the tech boom years but if this kind of corporate culture was supposed to have died with Netscape or the UK's it seems no one has told Google.

On a recent trip to San Francisco I got to see first-hand that for the zeitgeist setting search start-up the Silicon Valley dream is still very much alive and well thank you very much.

The Googleplex, as the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, is affectionately if slightly pretentiously known, is a sprawling nest of rather nondescript buildings set in the kind of landscaped gardens favoured by business-park architects and retirement home designers. The only thing to mark out the fact that you've strayed into the Google Zone is the company's familiar logo on a discrete sign outside the main building -- that and a 30-foot trailer flying a skull and cross bones.

This, I am later informed, is the kitchen where the aforementioned rock cook -- Charlie Ayers -- provides free round the clock meals to the 1,000 or so Googleites in the surrounding complex. Right now, the kitchen isn't being put to much use -- not because it's around 2pm and lunch is over but because to celebrate the end of summer Google has laid on a BBQ, complete with marquee, live DJs and beer keg. Not bad, even if it is Friday.

Topic: Tech Industry

Andrew Donoghue

About Andrew Donoghue

"If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism."

Hunter S. Thompson

Andrew Donoghue is a freelance technology and business journalist with over ten years on leading titles such as Computing, SC Magazine, BusinessGreen and

Specialising in sustainable IT and technology in the developing world, he has reported and volunteered on African aid projects, as well as working with charitable organisations such as the UN Foundation and Computer Aid.

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  • The term Googleplex is a pun which may have escaped the writer. Google is a number which is equal to 10 riased to the the power of 100. (or 1 followed by 100 zeros). A googlepex is also a number 10 raised to the power of a google. (or 1 followed by a google zeros). The number googleplex is not in common use as nobody has found a use for it.
  • Andrew
    this article is excellent!!!
    It made me laugh all along

    Well done