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Sunday, December 10, 2006

My First 3 Months at Google

It has been over three months since I joined Google, and pretty much the same time since I last wrote here. A lot has happened in this while professionally and personally and I just want to begin by mentioning that it has been amazing, to say the least.

Ever dreamed about a place where you are pampered with luxuries, surrounded by god-like techies, goddess-like babes, and you don't have to worry about trivial things like clothing & mmm.. food? And you know that there are only a few others like you. Open your eyes, it's Google.

Life @ Google
Disclaimer: If you hoped that I would leak out some secrets, I'll disappoint you. Everything that can be said about the company is available elsewhere on the net and for the rest, I'm not supposed to.

There wasn't really a training. Things started with fun and it lingers on. Initially, I got assigned to a project which I didn't really like. I had a small chat with my manager (who's a cool guy, btw, and works like hell) and within a few minutes, I was working on a new one, a one I did like. I stayed at the Google guest house for a fortnight while I used to keep running to and fro from IIIT as I was still trying to finish my thesis defense then (it's finished now, btw. I'm an MS. yay!).

I have a Mac laptop (Macbook Pro) to work on and it's beautiful. It's my first (significant) tryst with a Mac. Things are integrated pretty well and it they (almost always) work. I'll still rate linux above Mac, though. I definitely like some of the softwares on the Mac -- iPhoto, Photo Booth, Quick Silver. iTunes and QuickTime are pathetic, however. Besides, the mac, I have a dual-monitor linux workstation and my desk in office, just in case the laptop screen feels too small.

The speed with which things get done by at Google is intimidating, and I'm not just talking about the technical things but also about the administration, HR thingies, etc. Think about Google search and you'll have an idea of the kind of speed I'm talking about. The prime reason I joined Google was because I found Googlers to be happy. And now I'm happy too. Besides, it feels nice to know that you are being taken care of.

We have cabs for pickup and drop from office to residence daily, which is a nice thing coz this gives us some more sleeping time: in the cab, that is.

There have been a couple of parties since I joined. One was a booze party at Bottles and Chimneys and everyone soaked. It's funny to see engineers dance, especially when they are drunk. The other party was the (pre) holiday party recently, which included dance, besides food (of course).

I'll quickly run by some other things that have happened all this while.
  • Visited New Delhi for visa for Taiwan. Everything was in a terrible rush but I turned out lucky.
  • Visited Taipei City, Taiwan for presenting my paper in Pacific Graphics, based on my MS thesis work. Google sponsored the trip. Taiwan is a nice and clean place. The main railway station is as clean as IIIT. The mass rapid transit (MRT) system is nicely streamlined. I clicked a few pics with my new cam. People speak Chinese and don't understand much English. So, if you are traveling to Taiwan, be prepared to seek help (in sign language) from some lovely ladies on the streets. This trip also includes the joy of first overseas travel. Singapore airways is astounding and Singapore airport is heavenly -- they have XBOX gaming joints and movie theatres there!
  • Visited Chennai (& Mahabalipuram) for US Visa. I had been pre-warned about Chennai so I had kept my hopes to a minimum. It turns out that Chennai can be tolerated for one day (but no more). Mahabalipuram is an OK place for a few hours.
  • Leaving for the USA (for 3 months) in Jan.
  • Graduated. I'm a "Master of Science by Research (Computer Graphics)" now.
  • Bought a digicam (Panasonic DMC-LZ3 with 1G Transcend memory for ~Rs 12K)
  • Lost my drinks virginity somewhere near South-China sea
  • Visited Patna during Diwali. Patna is progressing gradually. Nitish Kumar, the new CM, is hardworking and ambitious.