Going to Google! 

Cassidy Xiong, Staff Writer

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Google is one of the most influential corporations in the world, even though it is a more newly created organization. Thanks to the Fresno Center, a non-profit organization, that helped organized and allow students, such as myself, to have the opportunity to visit the Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA.  This trip had me feeling excited since I’ve never experienced something like this before. When our group finally reached Google, it was not what I imagined. In my head, I thought that Google was going to be one rectangular building that had the words, “Google”, at the front of the building, however, contrary to what I thought, Google was a whole community. There were several Google buildings, even the street names were Google. There were Google bikes everywhere, in which people could just borrow the bike. There were also Google buses that allowed people to travel without having to use their car, making transportation more efficient. Google was a very big and rich community. I was very surprised and excited.    

When meeting the presenter, she was very kind and helped us understand who she was and how she came to Google.  She talked about her experiences and it was very interesting. Towards the end of the presentation, she gave us the chance to ask questions. My little brother asked the question, “Is Google always watching us?” When asked this question, the presenter smiled and said that when using Google, wherever you place your cursor, there is a computer/machine that records that data.  So, watch out guys, we’re being watched!    

One important thing that the presenter mentioned and that I noticed during the tour was that Google gives its employees amazing benefits. One of the amazing benefits, and the most important, in my opinion, is that you will never starve at Google. Every Google building has at least two or more mini kitchens with expensive and organic drinks as well as the good old Pepsi and Coke. These mini kitchens are always restocked so food will never be a worry. There is also a cafeteria for the employees, as well as, food trucks with amazing food of different cultures. I saw Vietnamese food and Mexican food, etc. They also have a small garden where they grow fresh and organic fruits and vegetables. The presenter told us that during your first year at Google, you’ll gain 15 pounds. Not only do they have amazing food, but they also have sports equipment and more. During the tour, we were able to see some Googlers playing Beach Volleyball, I assume that’s what it was considered since they were playing on the sand, as well as football, etc. Googlers also have the luxury to go to a masseuse or barber. Although they still must pay for that, it is cheaper for them. They also get discounts off Google products, such as the Google Pixel, etc. Even the masseuse and barber get these benefits because they are also considered Googlers. Those who restock the mini-kitchens work at the Cafeteria, and at the Food trucks also get some benefits, although not all of them. Anyone that Google contracts with and is on Google campus gets some of the benefits available for Googlers. And because Google has so many benefits, it is very hard for people to work there. The presenter described that she was scouted and that those who applied out of a million, only 0.01% get in.  After her presentation, I was pretty sure that everyone in the room was seriously considering the role of the masseuse or barber. It was the only one we could possibly have a shot at! 

Although the trip was enjoyable and cool, there were some things that I would criticize.  First, when we went into the souvenir/merch store, everything was so expensive, which is to be expected, however, it still brought pain to my poor frugal heart. That wasn’t the problem, though. The problem lied in the fact that Google only took credit and not cash. And it must be known that our “tourist” group mostly consisted of students, who most likely do not have a card yet, and the elderly, that were mostly elderly Hmong women that do not have cards because they don’t know how to use them. So, we were not able to buy anything. After that, we met with the tour guide, whom, for some reason, had no experience since no one knew what she was saying. She spoke so quietly, which would be understandable, but she was accompanied by a microphone. But even with the mic, no one knew what she was saying. She took us walking through Google community and told the history behind the Google buildings.  After that, we went into a building where she distributed our name tags.  Those who already attained their name tags were sent to the mini kitchen where we had lunch. For this trip, Google provided lunch for us, which was pizza. The pizza was great, but I expected more, to be honest. Come on, it’s Google. It would’ve been better if we were given cards that allowed us to choose from the food trucks or get food from their cafeteria, however, we just got pizza.  By all means, the pizza was good, I just thought that the food choice could ‘ve been better.   

To be honest, the whole tour was not efficient or well-planned out. I felt like Google just placed the tour at the back of their heads and forgot about us, then when we came, they just quickly put everything together.  Firstly, we had that incompetent tour guide. When we first got to Google, she should’ve distributed the name tags first, then continue with the tour.  The tour was not that great. We only walked outside and looked at the buildings from afar. We weren’t even allowed inside to see how the Google employees worked and what they did. What we signed up for was a tour, not a walk around a park. When we went into the building to get our name tags and eat pizza, there were still some people who didn’t get name tags. She told the second group, those who didn’t get the name tags, to follow her to make more name tags.  Xee Xiong questioned her and asked her if the second group could eat and while they’re eating, that she creates the name tags on her own since she already had the list of names. She, however, said no and that she needed them. In the end, though, all they did was stand in a room while she created the name tags. By the time they came back to eat, there wasn’t even enough pizza for them. This couldn’t completely be blamed on the tour guide, though, since some people in our “tourist” group acted like they never had pizza in their life and were like starving hyenas. Some carried five plates with six slices of pizza on each plate. They were embarrassing. My aunt from Fresno Center, Xee Xiong, was thoroughly embarrassed and hungry since she went with the second group to get the name tags.  Then the buses came back and we had to leave. That was our tour of Google. It was nothing much.    

Overall, the Google trip was meh. I seriously expected more from this large corporation.  There were some good and bad aspects to it. It was very disappointing though.  There should have been more presenters, they should have planned ahead of time. And if they did, then that is even more embarrassing. After this trip, I wished that it would’ve been better. My advice to Google is to make the trip enjoyable and incredible for the next group of students who visit. Don’t disappoint them as you did us.