The school year youth had their first field trip last week: a tour of Pittsburgh’s Google office in Bakery Square! It was fantastic to see inside the Google offices and hear from Software engineers during a panel discussion. The company is serious about confidentiality, so we didn’t take pictures beyond the lobby. What I can share is what we learned about how Google uses its office spaces to promote innovation and creativity.
The office was full of homages to Pittsburgh and the past of the building. It was a Nabisco factory from 1918 to 1998, and the office is still sprinkled with references to Nabisco products. An original mixer from the factory is still there, right near one of Google’s famous micro-kitchens. Their Tech-talk space is called the “In A Bisket” room. Parts of the office are also themed after Pittsburgh’s amusement park, Kennywood. They had a replica of a roller coaster car from the Thunderbolt ride. Another floor of the office was themed after bridges.
Our tour involved seeing the micro-kitchens, haircut and massage program, tech repair station and rooftop garden and chicken coop. Our tour guides told us about how the offices include a variety of environments, and this helps stimulate problem-solving. Working in the music room would put you in a much different mindset than the library, for example. One of my favorite sights was a room that had a live tree growing out of the ground.
After the tour, we learned about software engineering and got to ask questions to a panel of Googlers, who talked about the work they do and some of their most challenging projects. We also got to test our own team-working abilities when we were given a tricky logic puzzle to solve. It got us scratching our heads, but was good fun to figure out!
Thanks Google for welcoming us and answering our questions!