Nineteen of us from St. Gregory College Preparatory School spent the day recently at what many believe is the most innovative technology campus in the world — Googleplex, Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
About six months ago, my family had the opportunity to visit — and be stunned by — Google’s offices. The creative energy was shocking, considering there was nothing there just 15 years ago. The invigoration we felt was mind-blowing.
At first, we didn’t see how a resort-like campus would be conducive to work, but soon we understood that this relaxed campus increased productivity. Google is home to some of the world’s most creative, intelligent and hardworking people, a crowd that we believed St. Gregory students would see as role models.
It took us and our head of school, Julie Sherrill, six months to develop a plan for a group of students to visit Googleplex, and we made our visit April 18.
The day started with an introduction to Google’s mission of making information accessible worldwide, and a glimpse into its dizzying journey from its garage origin in 1998 to a company with 50,000 employees and $50 billion in annual revenues.
We saw what is perhaps the most beautiful, progressive office on the planet. We were not surprised that Google is considered the world’s best place to work. The Google Earth observatory, where viewers are surrounded by large TV screens, allowed us to look up St. Gregory and feel right at home. Another screen showed us all the places in the world that Google was being used as a search engine.
The car washes, barber shops, gym, pools, gas stations, cafés and restaurants, nap pods, rocket ship, laundry, spa, gift shop, bowling alley and video arcades were remarkable.
We received an introduction to computer science with a card game, which taught us how the tech giant makes sense of their billions of pieces of information
We heard a presentation on a new product called Helpouts. Helpouts connects users with assistance in virtually any topic — from makeup tips and math tutoring to a doctor’s consult, all through video chat.
Our trip would not have been complete without riding conference bikes — circular bikes that hold eight people.
We are grateful that we could participate in such an amazing opportunity, learning about some of the most innovative and exciting work being conducted on the planet.