Yesterday I got to see a Google campus for the first time. I was a little bit disappointed: no WWII-era submachine guns, no orange boiler suits, no hard hats. No signs of World Domination plots at all in fact. Oh well.
I was there for a talk on Google's AppEngine which I was curious about, but I also wanted to see a Google campus up close (and not just to check for nefarious SPECTRE-style plots). I was curious to see for myself what it looked and felt like.
It looked like regular office buildings - no oil rigs or secret volcano lairs in sight. (Not that secret lairs would be visible but I'm pretty sure that dormant volcanoes stand out in an urban area) The Google logo looks pretty catchy on a sign though, too bad it can't change like the one on the Website. The place felt... incomplete. Probably because they were still refurbishing at least one of the buildings.
The demo itself was quite interesting. It actually turned out to be three demos because two of the attendees had apps they had built using the AppEngine, which was neat. The main demo was by a fellow named Moishe Lettvin who by the way looks totally different without the hat he is wearing in the 'About' section of the blog I just linked. :)
Moishe talked about a demo app he had built to take data feed from a site called 'dailymile' where joggers across the country can log their daily runs - just thinking about it makes me tired - and plot it on Google Maps. Moishe spent a fair bit of time describing the technical details of his implementation which I wont go into but I will say that I was able to follow along very well despite having minimal knowledge of the subject when I walked in the door. It's always nice to find an engineer who is willing and able to relate technical subjects in simple terms.