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Google Reviews

Updated July 21, 2017
3,904 reviews

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3,904 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Work life balance is often mentioned but rarely (in 285 reviews)

  • Sometimes you feel you are very alone in this big company (in 242 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (777)

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

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer III in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Software Engineer III in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

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


  2. Helpful (368)

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

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Staff Software Engineer"

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

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

    Pros

    Great company to work with. Intelligent peers

    Cons

    none I can think of


  4. "Partner Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Partner Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Partner Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Opportunity to work with incredibly smart and talented people.

    Cons

    Extremely ambiguous work environment with little structure.

    Advice to Management

    Share long-term strategy with employees.


  5. "The Best Job I've Ever Had"

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

    I worked at Google full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The smartest people I ever worked with.

    Cons

    My team was too big, too fast. It led to some people feeling siloed and not taking responsibility for their work.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Great place to work"

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

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

    Pros

    Where do I start? From the culture, to the perks, to the resources, Google is an amazing place to work. This company is the definition of innovative and I can't wait to see what the future holds for myself and Google.

    Cons

    Nothing as of yet. I feel like I haven't been here long enough to see anything that's a con. Bureaucracy tends to seep into any organization if it gets large enough, but Google does a good job of battling that.

    Advice to Management

    Continue invest in the culture at Google. Our Googlers are what make us great and the mission we stand behind.


  7. "Great place to work in."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good growth perspectives. Interesting work. Good pay in many offices.

    Cons

    Too little vacation in US.

  8. Helpful (5)

    "The real deal"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

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

    Pros

    It all depends on your immediate workgroup but overall, the culture at Google is amazing as advertised. Collaborative, super bright people, and a come-as-you-are attitude. I felt like I was constantly growing.

    Cons

    Get in the wrong workgroup and you will find plenty of political, arrogant colleagues.


  9. "Wonderful supportive place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Doodler in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Doodler in San Francisco, CA

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

    Pros

    Great food, perks, benefits, location

    Cons

    Bureaucracy is insane. Open-office plans


  10. "Program Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Manager in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Program Manager in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Love everything about this company.

    Cons

    Needs more diversity throughout the orgs

    Advice to Management

    Hire more diverse candidates


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