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Google Reviews

Updated January 30, 2015
Updated January 30, 2015
2,954 Reviews
4.4
2,954 Reviews
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Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Google Co-Founder & CEO Larry Page
Larry Page
1,629 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great work-life balance with adequate opportunity for career development (in 140 reviews)

  • Free food onsite three times a day is an essential convenience factor (in 262 reviews)


Cons
  • This is one reason why maintaining a good work-life balance can be challenging (in 122 reviews)

  • You can feel that it's a really big company now - difficult to advance & a lot of red tape (in 93 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 780 people found this helpful  

    Moving at the speed of light, burn out is inevitable

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Program Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Program Manager in Mountain View, CA

    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 Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 119 people found this helpful  

    Great balance between big-company security and fun, fast-moving projects

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer III in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Software Engineer III in New York, NY

    I have been working at Google full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    * If you're a software engineer, you're among the kings of the hill at Google. It's an engineer-driven company without a doubt (that *is* changing, but it's still very engineer-focused).
    * The perks are amazing. Yes, free breakfast, lunch, an dinner every weekday. Aaaaaamazing holiday parties (at Waldorf Astoria, NY Public Library, MoMA, etc.); overnight ski trips to Vermont; overnight nature trips to the Poconos in the summer; summer picnics at Chelsea piers; and on and on and on. I don't see this going away unless the company starts hurting financially.
    * Speaking of which, the company is doing quite well, which reflects in bonuses and equity grants.
    * There a huge diversity of work ranging from defending independent journalism worldwide (Google Project Shield) to crisis response during disasters (see Maps during Hurricane Sandy or Tsunamis), to the best machine learning experts and projects in the world, to more mundane revenue-driving projects in advertising, there's really something for everybody.
    * It's easy to move around within the company as long as you're in good standing (the vast majority of engineers are).
    * The company is amazingly open: every week Larry Page and Sergey Brin host what's called TGIF where food, beer, wine, etc. is served, a new project is presented, and afterward there's an open forum to ask the executives anything you want. It's truly fair game to ask anything, no matter how controversial, and frequently the executives will be responsive.
    * No, nobody cares if you use an iPhone, Facebook, shop with Amazon, stream using Spotify, or refuse to use Google+. The company is amazingly open and flexible.

    Neither pro nor con, but general information on work-life balance, promotions, and advancement.
    * Work life balance can be what you want it to be on most teams. (Some teams are in more competitive sectors and require more crazy hours all the time - but very few of them). If you do what's expected, you'll be fine at least for a handful of years. Working a roughly 40 hour work week is possible, and many people do it. There are also people who are hyper-motived and work like crazy just because they love it, or because they're competitive, or they want to get a promotion. If you work 40 hour weeks without putting in anything extra, you'll fall behind them as they advance and you stand still - and maybe that doesn't matter, so it works out for everybody. But at least know where you would realistically stand.
    * If you excel and work your butt off, you'll be compensated and promoted. If you let yourself be a code monkey, and just sit coding with your head down all day, you'll be fine but won't advance. A big complaint from some Googlers is about not being able to advance "even at Google" with pure coding. Sure, if you're the uber genius who created MapReduce and Bigtable, you're going to advance like a rocket without having to do anything but coding; but if you're like most engineers at Google -- smarter than average, but just average compared to other Googlers -- you're just a good coder and not revolutionary. Code monkeys are important to actually get stuff done, and to be sure you absolutely need to be a good coder as a software engineer (it's the minimum requirement), but code monkeys won't advance because they're not leaders and they're easy to replace. To get promoted you need to lead and do more than just code. There are plenty of ways to lead other than being an official tech lead, so this isn't actually _that_ hard, so the real point is just that you can't just sit there coding what other people tell you to code all day and expect to advance.

    Cons

    * It *is* becoming larger, and with it comes growing pains: bureaucracy, slow to respond to market threats, bloated teams, cross-divisional tension (though nothing remotely approaching that of Microsoft's internal tension).
    * The quality of the engineers is possibly dropping, but possibly not. It's hard to get real metrics, because as the absolute number of people grows, naturally the number of bad apples grows; as a percentage it's supposedly the same as it ever was, but with larger numbers of poorer quality engineers it just _feels_ like things might be changing for the worse.
    * Also with growth means more internal-confidential data leaks (again, because of the raw numbers of people) -- product announcements being ruined, etc. That means the company has to be tighter-lipped internally to avoid leaks, which makes things less open. It's still an amazingly open place, but less so than it was even a couple years ago. The good thing is they recognize it and actively look to improve things because they know how important it is to keep the good culture.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep the focus on the user. Everything else will follow.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 8 people found this helpful  

    10/10 would work there again!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA

    I worked at Google full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    • Relaxed environment
    • Reliable schedule
    • Fun co-workers
    • Never worked past 5pm!!!
    • Very little micromanagement
    • Great pay

    Cons

    • Only con would be I'm not from California and much prefer my hometown. This is the ONLY reason I left Google. (I wanted to settle down in the same town that I grew up in)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    What management? Ha! The only thing I will say is that sometimes there is TOO little structure. When I first started I felt very lost and had to ask a million questions. I was afraid they'd fire me because I was bothering them so much. Luckily they said it was normal, but it would be nice to have just been TOLD the things I needed to know so I didn't feel like I was wasting everyone's time.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 12 people found this helpful  

    One hell of a place to fall into a a lifelong groove.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I worked at Google full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Stellar resources. Amazing compensation and benefits. The hours can be long, but the emphasis on work life balance is part of the company culture.

    Cons

    Google can be just a little stuck up. I worked with Google as part of an company acquisition and the hazing went far beyond the pale - they took out a banner ad targeted at my company with a picture of a pig so discouraging us from eating at their company cafeteria!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    Outside of Mountainview, you feel out of the loop

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Kirkland, WA
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Kirkland, WA

    I have been working at Google full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    - great perks; they try hard to make it a nice place to work
    - very smart people
    - not a lot of politics for a big company
    - decent pay

    Cons

    - career management is very hard
    - too many smart people means your talent is often wasted on trivial stuff
    - outside of main campus options for advancement are even more limited

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Google

    Pros

    -great environment
    -great people
    -great training and opportunities

    Cons

    -little to no work life balance

  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great place to work, but everyone paid one level above their capability and doing job one level below capability

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Group Product Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Group Product Manager in Mountain View, CA

    I worked at Google full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Smart people
    Inspiring mission
    World changing impact
    Treat you amazing
    Extremely well paid
    Great benefits

    Cons

    Too many smart people under-utilized
    Can be way too comfortable, sharp people become dull over time
    Easy to plateau on learning, due to lack of challenge
    Can be bureaucratic at times

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  9.  

    Always a new challenge

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Google

    Pros

    Amazing culture and benefits, you'll be surrounded by highly-motivated intelligent people, frequent personal development and feedback discussions

    Cons

    Must be comfortable with ambiguity and taking initiative

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    The best company I have ever worked in

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Product Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Product Manager in Mountain View, CA

    I have been working at Google full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Respects its employees.
    Truly cares about the impact it has on society, and the users.
    Even after growing so large still inspire and cherish creativity.
    Part of caring about the individual employee, strongly supports work-life balance.

    Cons

    Promotions are tricky and require a lot of work.
    In some cases, does not manage low performers well or have a path for them out.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Manage low performers.
    Make sure we promote the right people.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Great company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Los Angeles, CA

    I worked at Google full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    nice company. they have all you want . you can even take their bus to work . who does not want to work at such a company?

    Cons

    i dont know actually maybe the cons are you dont need to worry about where you can move to and there is no need to move forward

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    keep going

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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