Google Singapore Visit

by Benedict Lee

Every one of us has got to use a Google product one way or another in our life. One of the most commonly known and used product is definitely the Google Search Engine. Many of you might have been in the situation where our teacher’s answer to our questions is to “Google” it. But how many of you know what’s going on inside the Google’s office? Is it a place where people are running around finding an answer to your questions? Or could it be something much more exciting?

We were led into their conference room where we were briefed about the Google’s history. This is when we learn on how Google came about. Here is how it goes. In 1996, two guys from Stanford University started Google as a research project. One day, someone noticed the potential of this project and decided to give them USD$100,000 to continue to develop and improve on Google. Soon, more and more people started using Google, which eventually led to Google’s success.

We were then given a tour around Google’s new office at Asia Square building in Singapore. After which, we were introduced to the beautiful café filled with aroma inside their office. Did you know that they have chefs that whip up different cuisines every single day of the week? I bet it is every food lover’s dream to be able to savour all those dishes every single day! On our visit to Google, the chefs were whipping up Peranankan Food. There are beef rendang, babi ponteh, ayam buah keluak... Ahh, just listing out the food makes me salivate already! Rumour has it that you will leave Google several pounds heavier than you first came in. No kidding, I gain a few pounds right after the visit.

Besides the café, there are also leisure place where Googlers (Google Employees) can play charades, table tennis, pool and futsal table, or just be fascinated by the Widescreen display of Google Earth (I know we were fascinated!). There is a massage room, where Googlers can have a massage for $7 per session! If I’m in Google, I’ll be in there all day. Of course, for privacy reasons, we were not allowed to take a peek inside the massage room. We were also shown inside the games room, which is fitted with an Xbox 360, a Wii and a HDTV.

After satisfying ourselves with the food that we had for our lunch break, we went back at the conference room to attend a talk specially given by Mr Prasad of the Human Resource in Google Singapore. Being impressed by their amazing workplace, naturally, one of the questions asked were related to how to get hired into Google? More specifically, the question was “Say, you are the interviewer in a Job Interview for a position at Google Singapore. You have to choose between two candidates. One of them has related working experience but lacks the paper qualifications, while the other has paper qualifications but lacks the related working experience. Who would you hire?”

The response was that both paper qualifications and working experience are important and that the candidate must have both in order to be able to work at Google, because Google hires the best talents possible.” Another question though, was more about how Mr Prasad got to where he is today. Mr Prasad told us about his past, starting from his very beginning of life. Mr Prasad was born with flat feet. Flat feet is a condition where the feet does not have a natural arc, rather, it is flat. This made walking hard for him, as he was unable to walk a few steps before falling to the ground.

Mr Prasad’s father had to carry him on his shoulders before getting a doctor to treat his condition. Though his flat feet condition was cured, his weight ultimately made walking difficult as well. Doctors told him that he had to exercise in order to solve the walking problem. It was not easy for Mr Prasad at first, but one day, he chance upon a team having basketball training then he eventually gained interest and join them. He helped the team win competitions and at the same time his walking problems got better. Besides being a great basketball player, he was excellent in studies and was able to graduate from university. This allowed him to work in Google.

The visit to Google is ever inspiring and we had a lot of fun touring around the fascinating offices. After the day we’re all inspired and went home creating our very first Google+ account.