Inside Google's slightly wacky global HQ

Accenture Technology Labs Staff
Sam Shead

Sam Shead

Sam Shead joined Techworld as a reporter in July 2013. He studied Geography with Science Communication at Royal Holloway University before completing a postgraduate diploma in journalism at Cardiff University. Areas that he covers for Techworld include startups, entrepreneurship, wearables, mobile and telecoms.

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Techworld reporter Sam Shead takes a tour of what is arguably the world's most famous company headquarters. 

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A stone's throw from San Francisco

Google's headquarters in the small town of Mountain View, California, are located 35-miles south of the tech capital of the world, San Francisco. Many of the internet giant's employees choose to live in buzzing San Francisco and make the 40-minute commute each day, often on one of the company's wi-fi enabled G-Buses.

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Colossal campus

The headquarters have evolved over the years to reach the size and status they boast today. Google originally moved into a 500,000 square foot facility that was owned by Silicon Graphics (SGI), before redesigning and expanding it. The company, founded in 1998, is now looking to open an adjoining 1.1 million square foot campus on a 42-acre site in 2015. © Creative Commons

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Quirky structures

The open spaces between buildings are filled with water features, shallow pools, fountains, pathways, plazas and a gigantic statue of a dinosaur. The founders are said to have bought the T-Rex (nicknamed "Stan" after a "real" dinosaur found nearby) to remind Googlers to stay creative and not let the company become irrelevant like a dinosaur. For the more active Googlers, Googleplex is also home to swimming pools, gymns, basketball courts and putting greens.

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Google HQ on Google Maps

A Google Maps screenshot of the company's HQ reveals just how many buildings there are scattered around Google's mega-estate. © Google Maps

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Even has its own roads

The low-hanging Google signs are surrounded by tall trees, giving Googleplex a slightly secretive feel despite its vast scale.

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Colourful bikes

Getting between all these different facilities isn't easy. As a result, Google has 1,300 bikes — around one per five workers — as well as some more bizarre models like seven-seater conference bikes. The bikes can be found scattered like toys across the campus.

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Cruising round

They're quite fun to ride although a few more gears wouldn't go a miss.

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No sign of slowing down

With the company's profits growing to $3.45 billion (£2.05 billion) in the first quarter of 2014, Google is showing no sign of slowing down.

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Android building

Here's where they create the Android operating system. There's a statue for every version of Android, all named after sugary treats. They include Kit Kat, Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich, Cupcake and Honeycomb. Googleplex has become a tourist attraction in itself, with many people turning up to look around.

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Food at Google

Sadly, visitors won't be able to capitalise on Google's free meals unless they're accompanied by a Googler. Google employees themselves are spoilt for choice on a daily basis when it comes to food. There are multiple eateries around the Google HQ, offering everything from sushi to hot dogs.

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Play time

Nor will uninvited visitors get to see this slide that Googlers can use when they're feeling too lazy to take the stairs...perhaps after eating vast quantities of free food.

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No entry

But there were certain places not even I was able to go.

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So who works there?

Many software engineers graduating from Stanford University, just six miles away from Google HQ, go on to work for the internet giant. But the company prides itself on its diversity, with people from all over the world coming to work for the tech heavyweight.

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