A bicyclist sits atop the northern peak of Twin Peaks looking out over San Francisco on a clear day.
Near Twin Peaks Boulevard, San Francisco, California: 20 January 2013
On Wednesday, 30 January 2013, I had an opportunity to visit Google headquarters in Mountain View for a brief tour. Marc and I were to meet up with his friend and our host Matt for lunch.
We first drove to the quad on North Whisman Road and picked up Christan at Google Building QD6, next door to Symantec and just up the way from Roger's Deli—great breakfast, sandwiches and freshly baked breads.
We arrived in the midst of lunch hour, making parking difficult. Google offers a free valet parking service at the Googleplex and there were lines at each of the three valet stations we visited. However, all valet lots were full and we were directed to the subterranean parking garage. It did not take long to see that it too was completely full.
I ended up finding free street parking on Landings Drive near Building 1965. This worked out well since our first stop was the triad of Buildings 1900, 1950 and 2000 located nearby on the other side of Charleston Road.
We gathered a few more Googlers and headed east toward Building 40, crossing a small pedestrian bridge over Permanente Creek. After a quick stop at a small office where Matt signed Marc and I in as guests, we put on our white badges and continued.
It was extremely crowded as we entered Building 40 and made our way through the main corridor. Even more crowded was the food-court-style room filled with restaurants of varied cuisines and where everything is free. I filled my tray with items from several eateries, grabbed a drink and made a beeline for the exit away from the crowds.
Like most of the days on this trip, the weather was beautiful so the outside tables were at a premium. We managed to find a one that was too small, but we made it work anyway. After all, we were hungry and several members of our party were due in meetings shortly.
Meandering through the complex, it is amazing to see how many people work here. Some 3,500 staffers commute in daily from San Francisco, Marin, East Bay and other nearby areas on the free Google Shuttle coach service. To help people move about the various buildings that make up the Googleplex, colorfully painted bicycles are available for use.
As far as the well-known tourist attractions, we saw Stan, the life-sized Tyrannosaurus Rex replica skeleton; the replica of suborbital air-launched spaceplane SpaceShipOne; a neat Google Earth demo with huge LCD televisions arranged in a circle around the console; and the Android lawn statues.
It was fun, different and I enjoyed myself, but it was really just an office complex. We let everyone get back to work, gave a few people lifts to other Google buildings and then headed back to Sunnyvale.
Photo Credit: David July