App Inventor

October 26, 2010 § 1 Comment

Remember how I mentioned a couple posts ago that Google has a lab that allows non-programmers to invent Android apps??  Well, it’s an invite-only process to use the tool and I just got notification today that I was accepted!!  Yay!

Okay, that’s all. 🙂  Will update on my AMAZING Seattle trip soon!

Google Labs

October 12, 2010 § 1 Comment

Explore the awesomeness.

http://sketchup.google.com/3dwh/buildingmaker.html

http://citytours.googlelabs.com/?reset=true

http://www.chromeexperiments.com/

http://www.google.com/codesearch

http://www.google.com/publicdata/home

Google is Awesome

October 6, 2010 § 1 Comment

It’s crazy to think that 15 years ago, there was no Google.  The idea was in its infancy, hosted on the Stanford servers, if even.  Now, Google is an international company that reaches billions of people on a daily basis.  I had always been a fan of Google but it wasn’t until I became a little more technically savvy that I really came to appreciate all that Google offers to the world.

This particular post was prompted by a visit to the Google office in San Francisco.  Even though I was going there for work, I felt like I was on vacation.  To be honest, if I had a vacation day available and Google let me just hang out at their office, I would gladly go back.

The biggest difference between Google and all the places I’ve worked at in the past is the environment and company culture.  Even though I feel very lucky to have worked in some great companies/non-profits, Google outranked all those locales in every way.  The decor was bright and cheerful, the people were clearly happy to be there, and the cafeteria was AMAZING.  The energy in the building was contagious and everything was technologically so much more advanced.  I especially loved the nerdiness seeping through the walls.  My favorite discovery was “Testing on the Toilet,” a series of flyers posted inside the bathroom stalls for people to read and learn about how to optimally test their code.

But of course, my favorite room was the cafeteria (bathroom was a close second – heated toilet seats with lots of buttons!).  I could write a whole blog post simply about the food.  Every dish was made of high quality ingredients and the array of choices left me wishing it was socially acceptable to simply stand and eat at the buffet line.  I’ve been told that the Mountainview office has much more variety in terms of types of cuisine but coming from never having had an in-house cafeteria, I was plenty satisfied with the San Francisco office’s cafeteria.  It’s almost baffling to me that a company can be so successful to the point where it can afford to give its employees a competitive salary AND all the added benefits that Google offers (cafeteria, childcare, snacks, etc.).  Actually, it’s not baffling that a company could conceivebly make that much money…it’s more so that a company (ie, entity whose goal is to make money) would choose to invest so much back into the happiness and well being of its employees.  Which is one of the many reasons Google is so awesome.

I should probably put up a disclaimer that I do not work for Google and have never worked for Google.  I’m sure that the grass isn’t nearly as green on the other side but even so, there are so many virtues that I could elaborate on.  Did you know that you can essentially take a tour of practically anywhere in the world simply by utilizing the Street View on Google Maps?  It is AWESOME.  I love that Google invests heavily in projects not based on how much added revenue it will bring to the company but on how innovative and interesting it is.  Not only that, but they open it up for everyone to use, not simply those who are willing to pay for a subscription.  Google was definitely designed with the user in mind and you can tell from how they regulate the advertising that they allow on their site.  From a business perspective it makes sense for Google to widen it’s reach as far as it can so that it can have a more extensive network for its Display advertising section for revenue generation but even so, ideas like Google Sky Map?  Now, that’s just awesome.  Same goes for Google Earth.  Currently in Google Labs (http://www.googlelabs.com/) there are tools to program Android applications without actually being a programmer!!  Do I have to say it again?  They’re awesome!!

I could go on and on about Google.  But seeing as it is very late, I will end with this: Google #1!

=)

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