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Inside Google

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There’s an email floating around internal MS mailing lists about the differences between working at Google and Microsoft, the apparent result of an interview of someone who has worked at both places. The blog Just Say “No” To Google posted it online.

The culture at Google is very much like the old culture at Microsoft – back when the company felt like most employees were in their mid 20’s. These kids don’t have a life yet so they spend all of their time at work. Google provides nearly everything these people need.

Later the point is made that college kids have everything taken care of for them. They can live their entire live on a college campus and not have to worry about food, shelter, entertainment or transportation. Google offers the same sort of environment with free food, the Google shuttle for commuting between home and work, and even free shirts.

There’s even a comparison between the different age strata at Google. Since Google is all about what you’ve done recently, the prior experience of mid-career employees doesn’t buy them anything and they’re left to compete with recent grads. Those later in their careers are better at taking advantages of all the services that Google offers.

Much of what’s in the interview (the Google shuttle, free food, 20% time) are things I’d heard a lot about in the past. The concept of the Tech Stop was new to me, however.

Each floor of each building has one. They handle all of the IT stuff for employees in the building including troubleshooting networks, machines, etc. If you’re having a problem you just walk into a Tech Stop and someone will fix it.

No waiting for IT to come by your desk or sitting on hold with a help desk. The Tech Stops also encourage developers to decide what equipment they need.

If one of your test machines is old and crusty you bring it to the Tech Stop and they give you a new one. They track everything by swiping your ID when you “check out” an item. If you need more equipment than your job description allows, your manager just needs to approve the action. A “Developer” gets a workstation, a second workstation or a laptop, and a test machine. You’re free to visit the Tech Stop to swap any of the machines for any of the others in those categories. If a machine is available, I get it right away. Otherwise they order it and drop it off when it arrives.

Many companies make you jump through hoops to get hardware upgrades. Doing so might realize some short-term cost savings by not buying a new machine, but can result in developers having equipment that’s several generations old.

Aelizia
November 21, 2007 12:49 AM

Hi, Its very interesting and more informative.I agree that result in developers having equipment that’s several generations old.

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