Not all Google facilities are as glamorous and freewheeling as Googleplex. The Santa Monica facility is a standard Southern California office building, although Google-striped umbrellas flutter gaily on a rooftop patio, and the office is alluringly near the beach and famed Santa Monica Pier.
Perhaps the Dublin, Ireland, office best epitomizes what the Google culture has become in the world.
Google's twin towers rise above a small street in Dublin's formerly derelict Dockside area. Just a few years ago, the neighborhood was nothing but a few scattered small businesses surrounded by decaying warehouses. The area came to life after the Irish economy exploded. With the advent of the Celtic Tiger, new businesses went looking for bigger, more modern digs than were available in other parts of the lovely Georgian city.
Most Google facilities can be identified by the telltale striped umbrellas. The Dublin office is a notable exception. The Irish weather discourages outdoor eating spaces. On many days, Googlers huddle in doorways and building overhangs, smoking out of the drizzle. Here, as in California, the workforce is young, intense, and invariably dressed in Levi's and t-shirts or sweaters.
Lured by a young and international workforce, not to mention generous tax breaks, Google opened its Dublin office in 2004 with 150 people. It now is Google's largest facility aside from the headquarters in Mountain View. A sophisticated glass-and-steel building in the middle ...