Google

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Google Reviews

Updated Jul 29, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

4.2 2,326 reviews

96% Approve of the CEO

Google Co-Founder & CEO Larry Page

Larry Page

(1,241 ratings)

91% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great work-life balance with adequate opportunity for career development (in 105 reviews)

  • Free food, amazing people, amazing vision - almost everything about this company is a pro (in 220 reviews)


Cons
  • This is one reason why maintaining a good work-life balance can be challenging (in 100 reviews)

  • You can feel that it's a really big company now - difficult to advance & a lot of red tape (in 71 reviews)

More Highlights
2,326 Employee Reviews
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    398 people found this helpful  

    Moving at the speed of light, burn out is inevitable

    Program Manager (Former Employee) Mountain View, CA

    Pros1) 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).

    Cons1) 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 Senior Management1) 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    26 people found this helpful  

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

    Software Engineer III (Current Employee) New York, NY

    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 Senior ManagementKeep the focus on the user. Everything else will follow.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    4 people found this helpful  

    Great Place to Work!

    Intern (Former Employee) Mountain View, CA

    ProsThe environment and culture are wonderful. There's free food and events. The company does interesting work. You fee like your work is relevant when you work here because of the nature of the company's work. The people are nice, smart, and down to earth.

    ConsPeople are assigned a lot of work so you must be sure to do a good job balancing your workload. It's hard to get work done when you have so many awesome distractions like neat events to attend.

  1. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
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    1 person found this helpful  

    Lots of cash allow the company to invest in its people

    Senior Process Specialist (Former Employee) Ann Arbor, MI

    ProsGreat innovations, work for a company that is doing something most other companies can only imagine. Incredible benefits.

    ConsNot much in terms of team. Each person out for themselves.

    Advice to Senior ManagementNeed to balance excellence with cohesion. Very cutthroat environment.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Inspiring, supportive, challenging, rewarding.

    Design Manager (Current Employee) Mountain View, CA

    ProsOutstanding perks and rewards, high expectations, challenging work, lots of empowerment and minimal micromanagement, good collaboration, good lateral and vertical mobility, smart and do-the-right-thing colleagues, fair and unbiased feedback and performance evaluations, very transparent and good access to leadership.

    ConsEven the best big companies have some amount of politics and some amount of duplicate or discarded work. Plus, when you've got a lot of people working on something, the work is sharded into smaller and more specialized bits, and some of those are naturally less interesting than others.

    Advice to Senior ManagementKeep it up. Keep thinking big and long term. Keep moving forward.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    One of the best to work for!

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Mountain View, CA

    ProsFantastic and super smart co-workers, great culture, perks and compensation package. Generous to new parents. Work hard play hard. Leadership committed to a long term growth of the company.

    ConsCompany is now big which means more processes.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

     

    Best job ever!

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsEverything has been amazing so far. I feel like I've died and gone to job heaven!

    ConsI don't have any cons right now. Maybe that it's a bit hard to understand career paths but that's super minor

    Advice to Senior ManagementNothing right now. Great job!

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    I really enjoyed it!

    Recruiter (Former Employee)

    ProsYou work around amazing people that are passionate about what they do. You are provided with the tools that you need to get your job done and then expected to go out and produce. The benefits/perks are also great.

    ConsSometimes the environment is too nice. As changes cascade down from top management mid level management does not speak up and question or say no. This is not different from other companies, but with the culture there you would not expect it to happen so often.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGo directly to the people that will be actually executing your plan for feedback as opposed to their managers. You will get honest feedback and potentially save the company a great deal of pain.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    I really enjoy the environment

    Visual Data Specialist (Current Employee) Bothell, WA

    ProsSo much lax. freedom. Lots of fun

    ConsJob can get a little redundant

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    It's Google -- it lives up to its reputation

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    Pros- Free Food
    - the amenities are endless and truly amazing! It feels like a college campus more than a work campus.

    ConsIt is such a big company, it's really hard to list the pros and cons! It depends what you are looking for and what team you are on. It probably even depends what office or campus you work on. I can't speak to every situation when it comes to Google. I worked on a contractor, so for me, the perks were still great, but you always feel a little left out when you are not a full time employee. In my experience, my managers didn't really educate or work with me directly. I had a teammate who managed me, and he was great! But it felt a bit isolating at times. I also wish I would have participated in more events, groups and activities. But I think you have to feel comfortable in your role before you branch out, and right when I got to that place, my contract was over!

    Advice to Senior ManagementI think mentoring contractors (TVCs), making them feel included, being honest with them about their opportunity to continue with the company, and connecting them to resources more would be nice! But overall, working for Google is a surreal experience and it was amazing!

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