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Google California Reviews

Updated March 21, 2017
1,935 reviews

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4.3
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1,935 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Work life balance can be very challenging (in 263 reviews)

  • Becoming a big company, even culture wise (in 224 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (323)

    "The best place I've worked and also the most demanding."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    You can't find a more well-regarded company that actually deserves the hype it gets.

    You'll work on cutting edge projects / solve important issues that impact your community and the world

    You'll meet interesting people who are your colleagues, managers, and senior management.

    You'll open the paper and see your company in the news almost every day, and read about projects you're working on, which is a cool thing

    You'll see Larry and Sergey at TGIF and you'll admire how they lead the company. They are brilliant, goofy, low key but intense, and likeable.

    There are 22 cafes (more or less), the food is excellent, and it's free.

    Your pay will typically be competitive, though it needs to be tweaked up a bit since the economy has improved.

    Google cares about how it treats its employees.

    The campus is like an academic campus in many ways.

    There are tons of activities on campus, like authors speaking about their books, films after work, and gyms where you can work out - but you'll need to make sure to carve out time to do these things.

    You'll get plenty of external validation from people who suddenly think you're smart and rich because you work there, even if you're not rich and you're as smart when you didn't work at Google.

    If and when you leave, you'll never regret having that company on your resume. It opens doors.

    The company is flexible - if you're lucky, you won't have a micromanager boss and you can be somewhat flexible in how you work - but don't get me wrong - you'll work a LOT. But you don't have to do all of it chained to your desk.

    Cons

    I live in SF so the commute can take between 1.5 hours to 1.75 hours each way on the shuttle - sometimes 2 hours each way on a busy day or rainy day. That means being on the bus for 3-4 hours PER DAY. It's a wired bus though which means you can work on the way to Mountain View. But it can feel brutal.

    Your first year or two are really important in terms of your career at Google and they affect how you're viewed, and your ability to be promoted. You should always ask to work on high profile projects. If you don't get them, don't expect to get high ratings or get promoted. Always volunteer for cross functional group work for maximum exposure, and then work hard at those things.

    You'll likely work on something that no one will explain to you and it will take you at least a year to be comfortable doing what you're working on, even if you're super quick at learning. No one has time to train you or teach you what you're doing - which is kind of hard.

    After two or three years, people you started out with at Google start to get promoted. If you're not one of them, you'll wonder why and how it happened, and that process is somewhat political and not always clear.

    It's a big company now. And super political. So don't be naive. Expect some people to be catty, some people to be territorial, and be prepared to be mentally tough. Don't let people see your vulnerableness. It's a Darwinistic culture with a huge dose of 30-something idealism on top which can fool you into thinking that people are easygoing - they're not. They're driven. If you're not driven, you're not going to fit in.

    When you start at Google, it seems like peer reviews are super important - they are, but they are the sprinkles on the fro yo. The important thing is that your direct manager knows your work, likes your work and likes you, and then you can get promoted. If your boss doesn't like you, all the positive peer reviews in the world won't help you. Make sure you know what your boss wants, and give it to them. You will have weekly one on ones, and make sure you are addressing your performance at each one, asking if they have questions, how you can improve, can you work on cross functional projects, etc.

    It's really hard to find work life balance at Google. The workload is huge. I hardly have time to work out. The commute is brutal. My family sometimes needs more from me and I can't give it. I'm still trying to find the balance. I think I need more down time than most people so I have a hard time being structured every day to fit all the things I want into my day, so a lot of things slip, like working out.

    Advice to Management

    Keep on NOT micromanaging - that is a huge benefit to Google. Most of us have a huge workload and we work in spikes and not chained to our desks, and we care deeply about producing, and we produce a lot. We can do that because you respect us enough to give us some freedom in how we do our jobs.


  2. Helpful (1541)

    "Moving at the speed of light, burn out is inevitable"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Program Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    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 Management

    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.


  3. "Software Engineer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The benefits are amazing. Free food, free everything.

    Cons

    Things do get busy, and everyone's super competitive.


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  5. "Google Rocks!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Staff Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Staff Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA

    I have been working at Google full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Research, Top dollar, Clever colleagues

    Cons

    Proprietary technologies, adhoc promotion process


  6. "consultant"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in San Diego, CA
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in San Diego, CA

    I have been working at Google as a contractor

    Pros

    flexible work time all the time

    Cons

    long distance to travel from europe


  7. "Awesome place to work!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Software Engineering Intern in Mountain View, CA
    Former Intern - Software Engineering Intern in Mountain View, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Google as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Definitely made you feel like you were part of the team. Really amazing culture, where you had freedom over different projects to work on.

    Cons

    Work hours and commute can be very long if you work out of Mountain View.

    Advice to Management

    None


  8. "The Best of the Best"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Smart, motivated colleagues. Hard problems. Great perks.

    Cons

    Meritocracy fails to account for luck/"right-place, right-time."

    Advice to Management

    Recognize that good talent can still land in a bad team and/or toxic environment.


  9. "Program Manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Mountain View, CA

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

    Pros

    Great Salary, Great Benefits, Free Food! Management really cares; Google really cares about their employees. Interview processes ensure that only the best people are hired.

    Cons

    There really are not many. The company has a start-up mentality so things are always changing. You must be comfortable with constantly changing priorities and reorganization.


  10. "Technical Writer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Writing in Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Technical Writing in Mountain View, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Google (More than a year)

    Pros

    Responsibility I was given right from the start to do what I thought was right, and support for it. Freedom to move introduce bold new ideas and rock the boat a little. The quality and level of intellect in Google was the most I'd experienced in my career (after stints in other tech giants). Being in the environment ups your game and makes you better.

    Cons

    Can seem chaotic to folks who might need more structure.

    Advice to Management

    Emphasize to Googlers not to loss touch with the outside world, users of Google's products and services. I found there was a tendency to become more and more isolated in the perfect Google cocoon of free meals, laundry, and perks that in the end were detrimental to empathy with the rest of the world.


  11. "Nice company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Google as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Lunch is provide every days and beers every friday, there is a really good working environemment and the directors are really nice. i enjoyed working here.

    Cons

    Maybe the only dark cloud in the company is the fact that it is a big company and people are more likely to be left asside.

    Advice to Management

    Just take care of your employees more personnaly and help them to pull out the best of them; But good job anyway



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