Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Inside Google's Cambridge, MA Offices

Google held an open house this morning at their three-month old Kendall Square offices (they moved to 5 Cambridge Center from the Cambridge Innovation Center earlier this year.) There wasn't much news... but it was a chance to meet some of the Googlers, watch Governor Deval Patrick play ping pong with Stephen Vinter, the Cambridge site director, and see demos of projects the Cambridge outpost has contributed to, like the Android mobile operating system.

Some data points about what's happening at the Cambridge office, followed by a video interview with Vinter, who talked about how Google hires for this office.

    - Cambridge has 175 employees, split roughly evenly between ad sales and engineering.

    - Google opened a Boston sales office in 2002; engineering began here in 2005.

    - Among the projects Cambridge Googlers contribute to are YouTube, Blogger, Friend Connect/Open Social, book search, Android, infrastructure, Web crawl, and networking -- which seems like a pretty broad range.

    - I asked Vinter whether any new projects were indigenous to Cambridge... that is, they'd sprang out of the local office, rather than been delegated by someone at the Googleplex in Mountain View. He said that Friend Connect, a toolbox for easily adding social networking to Web sites, is an example of one. (It was overseen by Norris Boyd, who was demoing it today in Cambridge.)

    - Neither Larry Page or Sergey Brin, Google's founders, have visited the Cambridge office, but Google CEO Eric Schmidt has.

In my video chat with Vinter, I asked him about Google's hiring and interview process, and how the culture in Cambridge differs from Mountain View.

And here's some more coverage of today's open house: New England Cable News ... Mass High Tech ... Cambridge Chronicle ... BostonGlobe

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