Friday, March 11, 2016

So... Howzzit Goin'?

As I end my third week as a new Googler (a Noogler in Google parlance), I figured I would update those few folks that may still be interested even though I've left the RAD Studio/Delphi team.

First of all, I will not comment on anything internal or non-public. Google is a publicly traded company and has strict rules surrounding the dissemination of information. This even includes anything regarding the internal management/team structures. However I can certainly talk about my experiences, thoughts and impressions in the abstract.

My first day at Google was Monday, February 22nd, 2016. This day marked the beginning of a two-week orientation. I arrived early and waited patiently in the lobby of the building where the "onboarding process" was to begin. As the starting time approached, the lobby filled up with a lot of other fellow Nooglers. By the time some person came out dressed up in the Android robot costume to let folks take photos with him, the lobby was quite full. It was at this point I realized that Google must be a pretty big company to have this many people starting on the same day. And this happens each Monday. "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore."

Upon entering we were all shuttled to various "stations" where we provided documentation that verified our identity, and then on to pick up our temporary access badges. Immediately following that we were sent to a whole row of computers where we setup our LDAP/Corporate credentials (we'd already submitted various username selections from which the IT teams would pre-configure based on the most unique one). Finally we were sent to another station and our mug-shots were taken for later placement on our official access badge.

From there it was into a large room with projection monitors all the way around the walls with tables arranged in rows in the middle. Everyone is assigned a table onto which your assigned hardware was already there. Thus started my first day as a Noogler.

Over the next two weeks, I attended many classes which explained everything from privacy, security, and how it is the responsibility of every Googler to jealously protect not only Google's IP and assets, but also our customers'. I can unequivocally say that Google takes the security and privacy of our customer's data very seriously. I truly appreciate that this is stressed throughout the entire organization. This includes developers, managers, sales, and even contractors and vendors.

Other classes covered a lot of the internal systems and their use. Even though many of these classes were clearly developer centric, there were still many new product managers, designers, and sales folks in them. Engineering is core to what Google does and how supports it's business.

"That's all vaguely interesting and all... but what do you do?"

Unlike many positions within Google, I'm actually in a position where my work will be very publicly visible. I work on the Google Chrome for Windows team. The stuff I will work on can be easily seen out on the site. You can even download and build the code yourself. Sorry, it's in C++; not Object Pascal.

Some of you may think of Google Chrome as merely a browser... it is much more. It is a web application platform with APIs, security (really good security), process isolation and a locked down "sandbox". In the codebase there are framework and platform layers. Google has many developers working on CLANG & LLVM, some of which I will interact on a regular basis. There is also the ChromeOS that is also actively being developed and extended.

As I see it, short of a full blown IDE... I'll be working on a lot of the same kinds of things I was with RAD Studio. Frameworks, compilers, debuggers and other various developer tools. I hear many of the same kinds discussions regarding release trains, schedules, bugs, metrics, etc... IOW, it feels more familiar in many ways than it feels different. Of course the scale of things is much larger than anything I've ever dealt with.

Time to dig in and get on with it...