My Google Highlights

Posted by Sertan Djelal

A lighter look at a fun and memorable experience at the recent GooglePlex All-Stars Summit

After my previous blog post The Lowdown from GooglePlex on the key Search Marketing takeaways from the summit, here is a quick look at some of the more fun elements of the event.

Although my alarm was set for 6:30am, I was wide awake well before then. Why? Because it was the morning of Day One of the Google All-Stars Summit - the prize in the international contest for the world’s top performance search marketing agencies to visit Google HQ. Netcel had won and I had the honour of being in San Francisco for this highly acclaimed event in Mountain View, California. The bus was leaving in under an hour…

The drive from the hotel in Santa Clara took just over 30 minutes, which wasn’t bad considering the driver took a wrong turn off the interstate and had to double back. Driving through the heart of Silicon Valley we passed various well-known names – Apple, Symantec, Adobe, Cisco, the list goes on and on… and then – Google!

We were dropped off at the bottom of an incline just outside the new ‘Google Partner Plex’ where we would spend the majority of the next two days. Walking up, we were greeted with the main Google building aka the ‘Mothership’! The chatter was quickly replaced by silence, and the odd gasp by others, as the building came into view, just like school kids on a school trip – this is why we were all here. At this point, no one was thinking about seminars, AdWords or anything else related to search marketing.

Here are some of the highlights from my trip into the world of Google:

1. Google Trends Staircase

Upon entering the PartnerPlex, we were quickly registered, handed our all-access passes and led to the ‘breakfast room’. We were duly greeted by the flashing lights of the Google Trends Staircase. The staircase was, or so we were told, pulling in the highest trending search terms in real-time. Very geeky, very cool.

2. Google Bikes

The Googleplex is quite a vast campus, over 2 million square feet in fact with over 10,000 people on-site. If you ever had to make a quick dash to a meeting that you were late for, just imagine doing it from one end of this campus to the other. Help is on hand however with thousands of ‘Google Bikes’ dotted around to swiftly get you around.

3. Self-Driving Hybrid

We set out wondering whether the camp fire tales of the elusive self-driving car were true and if we would have the privilege of being bumped by one. Lo and behold, while walking back to the campus late on the evening of day two, we did in-fact pass right beside one, almost missing it!

4. Interactivity Everywhere

Every nook and cranny of the campus had some form of device embedded into it, they were in the walls, doors, ceilings and even in the floors. The wall in the photo below was dedicated to Google Image Search, framing the search results all along the wall.

5. The Android Building

If you need a gentle reminder to the various code names given to Android updates and versions, a quick trip to the Android building would jog your memory. ‘Gingerbread’, ‘Ice-cream Sandwich’ and ‘Jelly Bean’ to name but a few were all present in the Android garden. Anyone notice a theme?

6. Meet Stan

Yes, don’t let the camouflage fool you. That is indeed a full-scale replica T-Rex and his name is Stan. Although no one seemed to know just where Stan (or the pink flamingos for that matter) came from. Stan just appeared on the lawn one morning.

To sum up, from the beach volleyball courts and Android figures dotted around campus, to the sheer amount and variety of food available, someone has certainly gone to a lot of trouble to make visiting the GooglePlex a fun and memorable experience.