Larry Page, our co-founder and CEO, once described the “perfect search engine” as something that “understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want.” Since he spoke those words Google has grown to offer products beyond search, but the spirit of what he said remains. With all our technologies—from search to Chrome to Gmail—our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to find the information you need and get the things you need to do done.This means making search smarter and faster, so it can understand that when you type [jaguar] you’re looking for the car, not photos of the animal. It means showing you when your friends like an ad or a search result, so that you know it might be valuable. It means making our products work intuitively, so that you can share documents with Gmail contacts without having to copy and paste, and open the same tabs on your Android phone that you have open on your Chrome browser on your desktop. Above all, it means making our products work better so that people can spend time on the stuff they’re good at—like enjoying time with family, camping in the wilderness, painting a picture or throwing a party. We’re not there yet, but we’re working on it.
We provide a variety of tools to help businesses of all kinds succeed on and off the web. These programs form the backbone of our own business; they’ve also enabled entrepreneurs and publishers around the world to grow theirs. Our advertising programs, which range from simple text ads to rich media ads, help businesses find customers, and help publishers make money off of their content. We also provide cloud computing tools for businesses that save money and help organizations be more productive.
We build products that we hope will make the web better—and therefore your experience on the web better. With products like Chrome and Android, we want to make it simpler and faster for people to do what they want to online. We’re also committed to the open web, so we’re involved in various projects to make it easier for developers to contribute to the online ecosystem and move the web forward. And we work hard to create a web that’s better for the environment, by using resources efficiently and supporting renewable power. The web has evolved enormously since Google first appeared on the scene, but one thing that hasn't changed is our belief in the endless possibilities of the Internet itself.
Ten things we know to be true
We first wrote these “10 things” when Google was just a few years old. From time to time we revisit this list to see if it still holds true. We hope it does—and you can hold us to that.
- Focus on the user and all else will follow.
Since the beginning, we’ve focused on providing the best user experience possible. Whether we’re designing a new Internet browser or a new tweak to the look of the homepage, we take great care to ensure that they will ultimately serve you, rather than our own internal goal or bottom line. Our homepage interface is clear and simple, and pages load instantly. Placement in search results is never sold to anyone, and advertising is not only clearly marked as such, it offers relevant content and is not distracting. And when we build new tools and applications, we believe they should work so well you don’t have to consider how they might have been designed differently.
- It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
We do search. With one of the world’s largest research groups focused exclusively on solving search problems, we know what we do well, and how we could do it better. Through continued iteration on difficult problems, we’ve been able to solve complex issues and provide continuous improvements to a service that already makes finding information a fast and seamless experience for millions of people. Our dedication to improving search helps us apply what we’ve learned to new products, like Gmail and Google Maps. Our hope is to bring the power of search to previously unexplored areas, and to help people access and use even more of the ever-expanding information in their lives.
- Fast is better than slow.
We know your time is valuable, so when you’re seeking an answer on the web you want it right away–and we aim to please. We may be the only people in the world who can say our goal is to have people leave our website as quickly as possible. By shaving excess bits and bytes from our pages and increasing the efficiency of our serving environment, we’ve broken our own speed records many times over, so that the average response time on a search result is a fraction of a second. We keep speed in mind with each new product we release, whether it’s a mobile application or Google Chrome, a browser designed to be fast enough for the modern web. And we continue to work on making it all go even faster.
- Democracy on the web works.
Google search works because it relies on the millions of individuals posting links on websites to help determine which other sites offer content of value. We assess the importance of every web page using more than 200 signals and a variety of techniques, including our patented PageRank™ algorithm, which analyzes which sites have been “voted” to be the best sources of information by other pages across the web. As the web gets bigger, this approach actually improves, as each new site is another point of information and another vote to be counted. In the same vein, we are active in open source software development, where innovation takes place through the collective effort of many programmers.
- You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
The world is increasingly mobile: people want access to information wherever they are, whenever they need it. We’re pioneering new technologies and offering new solutions for mobile services that help people all over the globe to do any number of tasks on their phone, from checking email and calendar events to watching videos, not to mention the several different ways to access Google search on a phone. In addition, we’re hoping to fuel greater innovation for mobile users everywhere with Android, a free, open source mobile platform. Android brings the openness that shaped the Internet to the mobile world. Not only does Android benefit consumers, who have more choice and innovative new mobile experiences, but it opens up revenue opportunities for carriers, manufacturers and developers.
- You can make money without doing evil.
Google is a business. The revenue we generate is derived from offering search technology to companies and from the sale of advertising displayed on our site and on other sites across the web. Hundreds of thousands of advertisers worldwide use AdWords to promote their products; hundreds of thousands of publishers take advantage of our AdSense program to deliver ads relevant to their site content. To ensure that we’re ultimately serving all our users (whether they are advertisers or not), we have a set of guiding principles for our advertising programs and practices:
We don’t allow ads to be displayed on our results pages unless they are relevant where they are shown. And we firmly believe that ads can provide useful information if, and only if, they are relevant to what you wish to find–so it’s possible that certain searches won’t lead to any ads at all.
We believe that advertising can be effective without being flashy. We don’t accept pop–up advertising, which interferes with your ability to see the content you’ve requested. We’ve found that text ads that are relevant to the person reading them draw much higher clickthrough rates than ads appearing randomly. Any advertiser, whether small or large, can take advantage of this highly targeted medium.
Advertising on Google is always clearly identified as a “Sponsored Link,” so it does not compromise the integrity of our search results. We never manipulate rankings to put our partners higher in our search results and no one can buy better PageRank. Our users trust our objectivity and no short-term gain could ever justify breaching that trust.
- There’s always more information out there.
Once we’d indexed more of the HTML pages on the Internet than any other search service, our engineers turned their attention to information that was not as readily accessible. Sometimes it was just a matter of integrating new databases into search, such as adding a phone number and address lookup and a business directory. Other efforts required a bit more creativity, like adding the ability to search news archives, patents, academic journals, billions of images and millions of books. And our researchers continue looking into ways to bring all the world’s information to people seeking answers.
- The need for information crosses all borders.
Our company was founded in California, but our mission is to facilitate access to information for the entire world, and in every language. To that end, we have offices in more than 60 countries, maintain more than 180 Internet domains, and serve more than half of our results to people living outside the United States. We offer Google’s search interface in more than 130 languages, offer people the ability to restrict results to content written in their own language, and aim to provide the rest of our applications and products in as many languages and accessible formats as possible. Using our translation tools, people can discover content written on the other side of the world in languages they don’t speak. With these tools and the help of volunteer translators, we have been able to greatly improve both the variety and quality of services we can offer in even the most far–flung corners of the globe.
- You can be serious without a suit.
Our founders built Google around the idea that work should be challenging, and the challenge should be fun. We believe that great, creative things are more likely to happen with the right company culture–and that doesn’t just mean lava lamps and rubber balls. There is an emphasis on team achievements and pride in individual accomplishments that contribute to our overall success. We put great stock in our employees–energetic, passionate people from diverse backgrounds with creative approaches to work, play and life. Our atmosphere may be casual, but as new ideas emerge in a café line, at a team meeting or at the gym, they are traded, tested and put into practice with dizzying speed–and they may be the launch pad for a new project destined for worldwide use.
- Great just isn’t good enough.
We see being great at something as a starting point, not an endpoint. We set ourselves goals we know we can’t reach yet, because we know that by stretching to meet them we can get further than we expected. Through innovation and iteration, we aim to take things that work well and improve upon them in unexpected ways. For example, when one of our engineers saw that search worked well for properly spelled words, he wondered about how it handled typos. That led him to create an intuitive and more helpful spell checker.
Even if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, finding an answer on the web is our problem, not yours. We try to anticipate needs not yet articulated by our global audience, and meet them with products and services that set new standards. When we launched Gmail, it had more storage space than any email service available. In retrospect offering that seems obvious–but that’s because now we have new standards for email storage. Those are the kinds of changes we seek to make, and we’re always looking for new places where we can make a difference. Ultimately, our constant dissatisfaction with the way things are becomes the driving force behind everything we do.
Fortune Magazine and the Great Place to Work Institute named Google the 2014 “Best Company Work For.” While we’re honored to be included, what makes us proud is the recognition of the great contributions Googlers make to the communities in which we live and work.
Here are some of the ways that Googlers gave back over the past year:
- Last June, over 8,500 Googlers from 75+ offices participated in GoogleServe, our annual global week of service.
- In September, over 600 Googlers celebrated our 15th anniversary by doing community service events in different cities around the world.
- On Martin Luther King Day of Service, Googlers in our Bay Area offices participated in local volunteer projects in San Francisco and Oakland.
What’s truly makes Google a great place to work? Our people.
It’s really the people that make Google the kind of company it is. We hire people who are smart and determined, and we favor ability over experience. Although Googlers share common goals and visions for the company, we hail from all walks of life and speak dozens of languages, reflecting the global audience that we serve. And when not at work, Googlers pursue interests ranging from cycling to beekeeping, from frisbee to foxtrot.
We strive to maintain the open culture often associated with startups, in which everyone is a hands-on contributor and feels comfortable sharing ideas and opinions. In our weekly all-hands (“TGIF”) meetings—not to mention over email or in the cafe—Googlers ask questions directly to Larry, Sergey and other execs about any number of company issues. Our offices and cafes are designed to encourage interactions between Googlers within and across teams, and to spark conversation about work as well as play.
Google’s software engineers develop the next-generation technologies that change how millions interact, making accessible and useful the world’s information, and our ambitions reach far beyond just Search. To handle information at the scale of the web requires ideas from every area of computer science, including information retrieval, artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, distributed computing, large-scale system design, networking, security, data compression and user interface design; the list goes on and is growing every day. As a software engineer, you work on a small team and can switch teams and projects as our fast-paced business grows and evolves. We need our engineers to be versatile and always eager to tackle new problems as we continue to push technology forward.
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857 people found this helpful
- Comp & Benefits
- Work/Life Balance
- Senior Management
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
I worked at Google full-time (more than 8 years)Pros
1) Food, food, food. 15+ cafes on main campus (MTV) alone. Mini-kitchens, snacks, drinks, free breakfast/lunch/dinner, all day, errr'day.
2) Benefits/perks. Free 24:7 gym access (on MTV campus). Free (self service) laundry (washer/dryer) available. Bowling alley. Volley ball pit. Custom-built and exclusive employee use only outdoor sport park (MTV). Free health/fitness assessments. Dog-friendly. Etc. etc. etc.
3) Compensation. In ~2010 or 2011, Google updated its compensation packages so that they were more competitive.
4) For the size of the organization (30K+), it has remained relatively innovative, nimble, and fast-paced and open with communication but, that is definitely changing (for the worse).
5) With so many departments, focus areas, and products, *in theory*, you should have plenty of opportunity to grow your career (horizontally or vertically). In practice, not true.
6) You get to work with some of the brightest, most innovative and hard-working/diligent minds in the industry. There's a "con" to that, too (see below).Cons
1) Work/life balance. What balance? All those perks and benefits are an illusion. They keep you at work and they help you to be more productive. I've never met anybody at Google who actually time off on weekends or on vacations. You may not hear management say, "You have to work on weekends/vacations" but, they set the culture by doing so - and it inevitably trickles down. I don't know if Google inadvertently hires the work-a-holics or if they create work-a-holics in us. Regardless, I have seen way too many of the following: marriages fall apart, colleagues choosing work and projects over family, colleagues getting physically sick and ill because of stress, colleagues crying while at work because of the stress, colleagues shooting out emails at midnight, 1am, 2am, 3am. It is absolutely ridiculous and something needs to change.
2) Poor management. I think the issue is that, a majority of people love Google because they get to work on interesting technical problems - and these are the people that see little value in learning how to develop emotional intelligence. Perhaps they enjoy technical problems because people are too "difficult." People are promoted into management positions - not because they actually know how to lead/manage, but because they happen to be smart or because there is no other path to grow into. So there is a layer of intelligent individuals who are horrible managers and leaders. Yet, there is no value system to actually do anything about that because "emotional intelligence" or "adaptive leadership" are not taken seriously.
3) Jerks. Sure, there are a lot of brilliant people - but, sadly, there are also a lot of jerks (and, many times, they are one and the same). Years ago, that wasn't the case. I don't know if the pool of candidates is getting smaller, or maybe all the folks with great personalities cashed out and left, or maybe people are getting burned out and it's wearing on their personality and patience. I've heard stories of managers straight-up cussing out their employees and intimidating/scaring their employees into compliance.
4) It's a giant company now and, inevitably, it has become slower moving and is now layered with process and bureaucracy. So many political battles, empire building, territory grabbing. Google says, "Don't be evil." But, that practice doesn't seem to be put into place when it comes to internal practices. :(Advice to ManagementAdvice
1) Don't dismiss emotional intelligence and adaptive leadership. They're not just catch phases. You need great managers and leaders in order to build great companies and develop great employees. The people who may be brilliant at solving technical issues may not be (and are most often, not) the best candidates for management.
2) Do something about that work-ife balance. Don't just have a bunch of pow-wows and tech talks and discussions about it. Leadership should actually model it. Consider re-evaluating how work is done; what processes are in place that are inefficient and ineffective and need to be updated or removed?
3) Don't forget that there is already a pool of incredibly talented people within the company. If career development is really a goal at Google, then do it. Don't just hire from the outside. Take the time to help your employees develop their careers - then maybe you won't lose some of the great ones, and maybe you'll have prevent some of that burn out and disillusionment.Doesn't RecommendNegative OutlookNo opinion of CEO
Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
352 people found this helpfulApplication Details
I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4 weeks – interviewed at Google in April 2014.Interview Details
Direct onsite because I interviewed in the past and did well that time. From the time I sent my resume to interview day: 2 weeks. From interview day to offer over the phone: 2 weeks.
The syllabus for the interviews is very clear and simple:
1) Dynamic Programming
2) Super recursion (permutation, combination,...2^n, m^n, n!...etc. type of program. (NP hard, NP programs)
3) Probability related programs
4) Graphs: BFS/DFS are usually enough
5) All basic data structures from Arrays/Lists to circular queues, BSTs, Hash tables, B-Trees, and Red-Black trees, and all basic algorithms like sorting, binary search, median,...
6) Problem solving ability at a level similar to TopCoder Division 1, 250 points. If you can consistently solve these, then you are almost sure to get in with 2-weeks brush up.
7) Review all old interview questions in Glassdoor to get a feel. If you can solve 95% of them at home (including coding them up quickly and testing them out in a debugger + editor setup), you are in good shape.
8) Practice coding--write often and write a lot. If you can think of a solution, you should be able to code it easily...without much thought.
9) Very good to have for design interview: distributed systems knowledge and practical experience.
10) Good understanding of basic discrete math, computer architecture, basic math.
11) Coursera courses and assignments give a lot of what you need to know.
12) Note that all the above except the first 2 are useful in "real life" programming too!
Graph related question and super recursion
Design discussion involving a distributed system with writes/reads going on at different sites in parallel.
Array and Tree related questions
Designing a simple class to do something. Not hard, but not easy either. You need to know basic data structures very well to consider different designs and trade-offs.
Computer architecture and low level perf. enhancement question which requires knowledge of Trees, binary search, etc.
At the end, I wasn't tired and rather enjoyed the discussions. I think the key was long term preparation and time spent doing topcoder for several years (on and off as I enjoy solving the problems).
Conclusion: "It's not the best who win the race; it's the best prepared who win it."Negotiation DetailsYou can and should negotiate politely. You are in a stronger position if you have another offer, but even otherwise, you should ask for more of every type of payment!Accepted OfferPositive ExperienceDifficult Interview
Google is not a conventional company, and we don’t intend to become one. True, we share attributes with the world’s most successful organizations – a focus on innovation and smart business practices comes to mind – but even as we continue to grow, we’re committed to retaining a small-company feel. At Google, we know that every employee has something important to say, and that...
Mission: Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.