It took me three days to come up with that title… Actually it took me three days to realise I hadn’t posted about this yet. I was at Google’s European operations headquarters on Tuesday and, long story short, pretty much competely geeked out.
There was a Wall. Not a wall, well there were walls obviously, but I’m talking about a Wall. The search Wall. You might have heard of this before; I knew they had one at the Mountainview campus, but I didn’t think I’d ever get to see one. This wall (sorry, Wall) has people’s searches scrolling up it in real time, from all over the world. It’s about the coolest, most hypnotic decoration short of a lava lamp with real lava. Every now and then a search would elicit a murmer of laughter from the assembled nerd community. My protracted staring at the Wall was accompanied by lots of free Coke. Obviously Google knows the way to my heart. They most likely found out about it on the Web somewhere.
The event itself was a thinly-veiled (or, at the end, unveiled) recruitment drive. That’s fine by me. Google can happily recruit me at their earliest convenience as far as I’m concerned. We were treated to a technical seminar with an overview of Google’s systems: networks, hardware, and the Google File System (GFS). It was no more detailed than the information already available on the web. I guess we can hardly expect to hear their trade secrets.
Humour was present at every turn. One of the slides showed a picture of Google’s dog. The speaker said he used to accompany that slide by saying their dog was bigger than Lycos’s but no-one get’s that joke anymore. Eh? I guess you had to be there. I was surprised to see ther first server had a Lego case; that’s something I’ve been telling Djinn to do with his computer for years.
Then came the extended period that I’ve termed "walking around, eating free food, drinking free drinks, and talking to Google staff". Despite my best intentions I utterly failed to remember to ask what they feed the pigeons. Maybe next time.