Things visitors can do at Google Office, Mountain View CA - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Things visitors can do at Google Office, Mountain View CA

I had a short visit to Google's HQ in Mountain View, California. Unlike Indian cities where security prevents you from entering the gate, businesses in the west have a pretty open policy as they have very less crowd and much lesser security risk from public. It is possible for visitors to just walk-in into Google's HQ, explore around without being questioned or having to undergo any complicated registration process etc.

If you are visiting San Francisco/San Jose area and wish to visit Google's HQ, by all means you can- you can simply walk in, explore around and leave when you're done. Here're a set of things you can do in Google's Mountain View campus in California, as a visitor. This is based on my short visit experience (spent about 2 hours only)- let me know if there's something more.

1. Ride around on Google cycle
There're dozens of cycles like the one below, available at multiple places in Google campus. You are free to hop on, ride around as you wish. I saw people taking them out on the main street as well. You're supposed to return them at designated bike parking spots, but I saw them at random places- may be some visitors didn't care or were still using them.

2. Buy goods at Google Store
Wide range of merchandise is available for purchase at the Google store. Cheapest ones are pens costing USD 1.99, more expensive ones include electronic products. T-shirts, hoodies, note books, mugs, dolls etc are available for purchase at reasonable price.
Google store also has a rest room you can access.

3. Android statues
Near to the Google store is a mini park with statues of various Android versions- Kitkat, Icecream Sandwich and so on. You can have some photo session with them, if it excites you.

4. Buy exotic food
If you're visiting during lunch time, you can possibly buy some food from the food trucks in the campus- saw a few of them selling cuisines from various countries.

5. Look for contests
When I visited, there were displays indicating some contest where one could win android figurines. When asked for details I was told it is for kids. Depending on your luck, you may find some contest that could win you something

6. Look for innovative stuff
Google continuously tries new and innovative things and some of them could be on the streets for everyone to see. Keep an eye open for things like self-driving cars, street-view recording car or things like that. I spotted one multi-user cycle like this one and a few self driving cars, street view mapping cars.

7. Relax on the benches
Lots of places you can simply relax for a while.
8. Ask a staff what else is happening
Saw couple of kiosks where staff were standing to assist visitors. Approach them to know what else you can do, any ongoing events/contests you can attend and so on. I was advised to go in a particular direction to see an android statue- I decided to leave as my bus to next destination was due in few minutes and if I miss it next one could be 30-40 mins, so I decided to leave at this point.

What else can Google possibly do for visitors entering their HQ?
Of course it is not fair to ask lots of things for free for visitors- HQ is not run to entertain unsolicited visitors. But then, Google's strength comes from public who use their products, so it may not be bad idea to do a few more things for those who have taken interest to visit the HQ.

Feedback Kiosks: I feel it would be good idea for Google to keep some feedback kiosks where visitors can submit their ideas/suggestions/concerns etc. Of course this can be done online and Google should be definitely having mechanism to collect feedback and don't have to depend on walk-in public- but then, you never know from where next big idea may come from. If someone has shown interest to visit the campus and has some inputs to share, may be it is good idea to capture it and send it to relevant teams for an evaluation. Just my thoughts..  I had multiple concerns/feedbacks on Google's blogger platform and few on maps- didn't have a proper way to communicate it-if there was an easy way I would have been happier.

Some personalized welcome message: Google knows when you're in their campus- thanks to maps etc. It was asking me for feedback or help answer queries related to the android lawn... Providing some kind of personalized message for those who enter Google campus and showing them things to see/do around automatically, without them having to look around would probably be a nice idea. 

While maps showed a Google visitor centre, the specific building 1901 was closed-so had to explore around a bit on my own to figure out where to go or what to do. The building across the road had designated people assisting visitors. Overall, was good experience visiting technology giant's HQ


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