First days at Google

My butt hurts! But more on that later…

So, a couple of minutes before 8 am Monday morning I entered the door to the lobby of Google building 43 on Charleston Road in Mountain View, California. I was not alone there. There was a good mix of people from all over the world. Some seemed to know each other (I later learned they had earlier been interns at Google) but for most people it was all new faces.

At 8am Lauren from the Noogler Orientation team raised her voice and welcomed us all to Google! We were first supposed to get our named marked on a list in the reception counter. Then there was another line where a security guy checked our ID. After that we were let in to another room where we sat down one by one at one of a couple of computers to enter the password we wanted to have for the Google account. At this point we were also given a small password generation USB device. The device acts as a keyboard and when you press a button on it it “types” a sequence of six digits that acts as a one time password. Pretty nifty!

Then on to the next room where a picture for the sceurity badge was taken and we got a temporary badge with a nice “E” (for Employee) on it. Then we went on to “No Name Café” where breakfast was served!

After breakfast we all went into a big conference/lecture room that had laptops sitting at every seat. So I went for a search for the one marked with “Niklas Lindholm” and soon found my new and shining MacBook Pro. (My first Mac ever!) In this room it was clear how many we actually were. I think about 100 persons started on this day. Not all were going to work in the Mountain View office. There were people from many places. Even someone that would belong to the London office. (I thought they would have their orientation in Zürich..) A lot of people were from the Seattle office.

Now a torrent of information started to flood over us all. At the same time emails started to drop in (into GMail of course) and events started to pop up in Google Calendar. Over the next few days there would be orientations about internal information systems, benefits and perks, security and confidentiality, “Life of an engineer”, how the search engine works etc.

And to complicate things I have been selected as one of about twenty “guinea pigs” to try out a new way of allocating Nooglers to projects. Instead of just being assigned to a project based on previously given preferences (most people knew after a day or so what project they would start on) we were given presentations from different areas and projects that needed people and is a priority to the company.

Then we got to choose three of those projects as favorites. Something that was pretty hard to do because I still know so little about how Google projects work and what I would be interested in. After that a number of one-on-one meetings with project managers started to pop up in Google Calendar. On these meetings we got to find out more on the projects we had shown interest in. I have now had most of these meetings and should know soon what I will start working on. So far I don’t know though. This also means that I have no real manager yet, and no desk. All I have is my laptop and a filled schedule. It really feels like university all over again!

So…. why does my butt hurt?

Earlier today I went to the leasing office of The Shadows Apartments to make a deposit so I would secure an apartment there. Since I had to return my rental car last night the best way to go there in the morning (the first thing on my schedule was at 10am) was to take the G-Bus (the Google shuttle bus) to Google. From there I took one of the Google bikes that can be found all over the campus and biked to the leasing office. (It’s biking distance between my new apartment and Google.) Since I haven’t been riding a bike in years and the saddle was a hard unpadded one I ended up with a hurting butt.

The Google bikes is a pretty cool system. Whenever you find a bike that is just standing there you can take it to go somewhere within the Google campus. And there are quite a lot of them so it doesn’t seem to be a problem finding a free one when you need one.

Tomorrow I think I will get a very geeky piece of Google clothing…

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