The Best Place to Work: Google and their Office in Zurich
Well, actually, it’s not the best anymore — this Google office is now ranked “only” 4th by Fortune (it won the top spot in 2008). Anyway, we still think it’s worth taking a little virtual tour and checking out the interior design of Google’s branch in Zurich, Switzerland. It’s not open to the public but if it was, we’d be sure to add it to our list of places to visit in Switzerland. The contemporary design includes themed meeting rooms — such as the jungle lounge or a Western-style saloon — and lots of other fun stuff for the employees, like slides and relaxation pods.
Situated next to Lake Zurich, it’s said to have stunning vistas too. It’s also about an hour away from the Swiss Alps if you’re interested in doing a bit of skiing too! All these great views outside might explain why a local Google employee slash pilot felt inspired to develop Google Earth Flight Simulator in this office.
When asked what it’s like working at Google, former employee Avinash Kaushik said: “Interesting, fun, surprising, insightful, inspiring, impactful, and more such words.” These photos from the Google office in Zurich tell the same story, and I hope it will let you taste what it’s like working there.
“Google got its name by accident. The founders misspelled the word “googol,” which refers to the number 1 followed by 100 zeroes. The word was chosen to reflect the company’s goal of organizing the massive amount of information that is available on the Internet.”
“Employees are encouraged to use 20% of their time working on their own projects. Google News, Orkut are both examples of projects that grew from this working model.”
“On any given day at Google, there are brilliant people visiting and giving talks and lectures. Politicians, authors, professors, bright young folks, environmentalists, journalists, dignitaries, monks, Nobel prize winners, venture capitalists, and so on and so forth.
I am astounded at the ability to have access to so many brilliant and leading minds. If I have some time then I can take an hour out, go listen to someone brilliant and stretch my brain on a wide variety of topics.”
“The Google home page is so sparse because the founders did not know HTML and just wanted to create a quick interface.”
“In early user-tests, they noted people just sitting looking at the screen due to the sparseness of the homepage. After a minute of nothingness, the tester intervened and asked “What’s up?” to which they replied, “We are waiting for the rest of it”. To solve that particular problem, the Google copyright message was inserted to act as a crude end of page marker.”
“Google’s first data center was Larry Page’s dorm room.”
“Brett had always said one of the reasons I should work at Google was the food.
I still can’t get used to the fact that every day when I walk into a cafe, the food is different and delicious and healthy and mostly organic.
At Google, the food never gets boring because each cafe has an executive/sous chef, and when you eat they’ll come to chat with you and ask you what you think of the food (to your utter shock the first few times). They actually care.”
“When Page and Brin tried to find buyers to license their search technology, one portal CEO told them “As long as we’re 80 percent as good as our competitors, that’s good enough. Our users don’t really care about search.”
“Google’s traffic doubled when they introduced their “Did you mean…” feature. This feature was made possible by a much-improved spell checker.”
“The search engine that Page and Brin were collaborating on was originally called BackRub, named for its ability to analyze the “backlinks” pointing to a given Web site.”
“The infamous “I feel lucky” is nearly never used. However, in trials, it was found that removing it would somehow reduce the Google experience. Users wanted to keep it — it was a comfort button.”
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