Google in the News

Noogles and Googley: the Google Culture

By Joshua Hill—— Bio and Archives--November 14, 2007

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Google’s made it to the news a lot lately, what with its shares topping $700, their green environmental policies and the Gphone. But what about behind the scenes? Who are the people that make up the world’s largest underdog?


A story in the New York Times features the stories of some very lucky past and present Google employees. The stories title—Google Options Make Masseuse a Multimillionaire—is relatively self-explanatory. Bonnie Brown started working for Google when there were only 40 employees, and received a vast amount of stocks and options.

She retired after five years, but having kept a hold on to a cache of her shares, she now runs a charitable organization totally funded by her Google stocks.

But it’s not a topic of discussion that is played out much throughout the hallowed Google halls. Not unless a magical number is passed, like the $700 a share of recent days. But according to an unnamed Google engineer, it simply isn’t “Googley” to discuss such things.

“Googley” is the term used in-house to describe what is acceptable culture within Google. Other things that aren’t googley are how much you’ve made thanks to working with Google, what the stock options are doing, etc.

However there are those who admit that it occasionally comes up in talk. In all seriousness, how could it not? “It’s very clear that people are taking nicer vacations,” said one Google engineer, who asked not to be identified because it is also not Googley to talk about personal fortunes made at the company. “And one of the guys who works for me but has been there longer showed up at work in a really, really nice new car.”

But Google is inherently different from similar companies like Microsoft, of whom many engineers and other employees have previously worked for. The engineers interviewed for the story say that it just isn’t something one does at Google, to have the stock ticker on the desktop at all times, monitoring the Google stocks.

Speaking of Microsoft, it appears the once giant of the computer industry is not overly happy with Google. A report over the weekend focused on what happens to those employees who give their two-week notice with the intention of moving to Google. Instead of the customary lazy two weeks of non-work, goodbyes and cake, they are immediately escorted off the premises. Apparently Microsoft fears Google more than they’d care to admit.

But Google culture must be so much more appealing to those drones working for Microsoft. Bicycles are provided to move across campus, free massages, lunches, public transport to and from home, are just a few of the bonuses available to a Google employee.

Ever wonder why it is that Google is so appealing? I mean, apart from the freebies listed above? Consider that, Google allows each employee 20% of their paid time to develop their own projects. Why would Google do such a thing? Well where do you think all of Google’s mini-projects have come from? Programs like Google Talk, Desktop, etc are mostly the brainchildren of hardworking Google employees. They get an idea, and Google will run with it.

It’s not just about money at Google, and many would say that it isn’t at all about the cash. Of course, the cash probably makes for a nice bonus. With working conditions and bonuses on offer, why not work for Google?

Joshua Hill, a Geek’s-Geek from Melbourne, Australia, Josh is an aspiring author with dreams of publishing his epic fantasy, currently in the works, sometime in the next 5 years. A techie, nerd, sci-fi nut and bookworm.


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