Google Reviews

Updated 29 October, 2014
Updated 29 October, 2014
2,612 Reviews
4.4
2,612 Reviews
Rating Trends

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Google Co-Founder & CEO Larry Page
Larry Page
1,429 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great work-life balance with adequate opportunity for career development (in 128 reviews)

  • Free food onsite three times a day is an essential convenience factor (in 252 reviews)


Cons
  • This is one reason why maintaining a good work-life balance can be challenging (in 115 reviews)

  • You can feel that it's a really big company now - difficult to advance & a lot of red tape (in 85 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Unparalleled

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Kitchener, ON
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Kitchener, ON

    I have been working at Google full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Freedom to work and motivate one self. There is no micro-managing and you're given the freedom to work the way you want as long as it drives results. They also understand the importance of life balance and have helped me instill balance in my life.

    Cons

    I really can't think of anything. There may be times where you feel the work isn't right for you, but it's big enough that you're able to move to a project and location that suits you.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 566 people found this helpful  

    Moving at the speed of light, burn out is inevitable

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Program Manager in Mountain View, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Program Manager in Mountain View, CA (US)

    I worked at Google full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    1) Food, food, food. 15+ cafes on main campus (MTV) alone. Mini-kitchens, snacks, drinks, free breakfast/lunch/dinner, all day, errr'day.

    2) Benefits/perks. Free 24:7 gym access (on MTV campus). Free (self service) laundry (washer/dryer) available. Bowling alley. Volley ball pit. Custom-built and exclusive employee use only outdoor sport park (MTV). Free health/fitness assessments. Dog-friendly. Etc. etc. etc.

    3) Compensation. In ~2010 or 2011, Google updated its compensation packages so that they were more competitive.

    4) For the size of the organization (30K+), it has remained relatively innovative, nimble, and fast-paced and open with communication but, that is definitely changing (for the worse).

    5) With so many departments, focus areas, and products, *in theory*, you should have plenty of opportunity to grow your career (horizontally or vertically). In practice, not true.

    6) You get to work with some of the brightest, most innovative and hard-working/diligent minds in the industry. There's a "con" to that, too (see below).

    Cons

    1) Work/life balance. What balance? All those perks and benefits are an illusion. They keep you at work and they help you to be more productive. I've never met anybody at Google who actually time off on weekends or on vacations. You may not hear management say, "You have to work on weekends/vacations" but, they set the culture by doing so - and it inevitably trickles down. I don't know if Google inadvertently hires the work-a-holics or if they create work-a-holics in us. Regardless, I have seen way too many of the following: marriages fall apart, colleagues choosing work and projects over family, colleagues getting physically sick and ill because of stress, colleagues crying while at work because of the stress, colleagues shooting out emails at midnight, 1am, 2am, 3am. It is absolutely ridiculous and something needs to change.

    2) Poor management. I think the issue is that, a majority of people love Google because they get to work on interesting technical problems - and these are the people that see little value in learning how to develop emotional intelligence. Perhaps they enjoy technical problems because people are too "difficult." People are promoted into management positions - not because they actually know how to lead/manage, but because they happen to be smart or because there is no other path to grow into. So there is a layer of intelligent individuals who are horrible managers and leaders. Yet, there is no value system to actually do anything about that because "emotional intelligence" or "adaptive leadership" are not taken seriously.

    3) Jerks. Sure, there are a lot of brilliant people - but, sadly, there are also a lot of jerks (and, many times, they are one and the same). Years ago, that wasn't the case. I don't know if the pool of candidates is getting smaller, or maybe all the folks with great personalities cashed out and left, or maybe people are getting burned out and it's wearing on their personality and patience. I've heard stories of managers straight-up cussing out their employees and intimidating/scaring their employees into compliance.

    4) It's a giant company now and, inevitably, it has become slower moving and is now layered with process and bureaucracy. So many political battles, empire building, territory grabbing. Google says, "Don't be evil." But, that practice doesn't seem to be put into place when it comes to internal practices. :(

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    1) Don't dismiss emotional intelligence and adaptive leadership. They're not just catch phases. You need great managers and leaders in order to build great companies and develop great employees. The people who may be brilliant at solving technical issues may not be (and are most often, not) the best candidates for management.

    2) Do something about that work-ife balance. Don't just have a bunch of pow-wows and tech talks and discussions about it. Leadership should actually model it. Consider re-evaluating how work is done; what processes are in place that are inefficient and ineffective and need to be updated or removed?

    3) Don't forget that there is already a pool of incredibly talented people within the company. If career development is really a goal at Google, then do it. Don't just hire from the outside. Take the time to help your employees develop their careers - then maybe you won't lose some of the great ones, and maybe you'll have prevent some of that burn out and disillusionment.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 62 people found this helpful  

    Great balance between big-company security and fun, fast-moving projects

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer III in New York, NY (US)
    Current Employee - Software Engineer III in New York, NY (US)

    I have been working at Google full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    * If you're a software engineer, you're among the kings of the hill at Google. It's an engineer-driven company without a doubt (that *is* changing, but it's still very engineer-focused).
    * The perks are amazing. Yes, free breakfast, lunch, an dinner every weekday. Aaaaaamazing holiday parties (at Waldorf Astoria, NY Public Library, MoMA, etc.); overnight ski trips to Vermont; overnight nature trips to the Poconos in the summer; summer picnics at Chelsea piers; and on and on and on. I don't see this going away unless the company starts hurting financially.
    * Speaking of which, the company is doing quite well, which reflects in bonuses and equity grants.
    * There a huge diversity of work ranging from defending independent journalism worldwide (Google Project Shield) to crisis response during disasters (see Maps during Hurricane Sandy or Tsunamis), to the best machine learning experts and projects in the world, to more mundane revenue-driving projects in advertising, there's really something for everybody.
    * It's easy to move around within the company as long as you're in good standing (the vast majority of engineers are).
    * The company is amazingly open: every week Larry Page and Sergey Brin host what's called TGIF where food, beer, wine, etc. is served, a new project is presented, and afterward there's an open forum to ask the executives anything you want. It's truly fair game to ask anything, no matter how controversial, and frequently the executives will be responsive.
    * No, nobody cares if you use an iPhone, Facebook, shop with Amazon, stream using Spotify, or refuse to use Google+. The company is amazingly open and flexible.

    Neither pro nor con, but general information on work-life balance, promotions, and advancement.
    * Work life balance can be what you want it to be on most teams. (Some teams are in more competitive sectors and require more crazy hours all the time - but very few of them). If you do what's expected, you'll be fine at least for a handful of years. Working a roughly 40 hour work week is possible, and many people do it. There are also people who are hyper-motived and work like crazy just because they love it, or because they're competitive, or they want to get a promotion. If you work 40 hour weeks without putting in anything extra, you'll fall behind them as they advance and you stand still - and maybe that doesn't matter, so it works out for everybody. But at least know where you would realistically stand.
    * If you excel and work your butt off, you'll be compensated and promoted. If you let yourself be a code monkey, and just sit coding with your head down all day, you'll be fine but won't advance. A big complaint from some Googlers is about not being able to advance "even at Google" with pure coding. Sure, if you're the uber genius who created MapReduce and Bigtable, you're going to advance like a rocket without having to do anything but coding; but if you're like most engineers at Google -- smarter than average, but just average compared to other Googlers -- you're just a good coder and not revolutionary. Code monkeys are important to actually get stuff done, and to be sure you absolutely need to be a good coder as a software engineer (it's the minimum requirement), but code monkeys won't advance because they're not leaders and they're easy to replace. To get promoted you need to lead and do more than just code. There are plenty of ways to lead other than being an official tech lead, so this isn't actually _that_ hard, so the real point is just that you can't just sit there coding what other people tell you to code all day and expect to advance.

    Cons

    * It *is* becoming larger, and with it comes growing pains: bureaucracy, slow to respond to market threats, bloated teams, cross-divisional tension (though nothing remotely approaching that of Microsoft's internal tension).
    * The quality of the engineers is possibly dropping, but possibly not. It's hard to get real metrics, because as the absolute number of people grows, naturally the number of bad apples grows; as a percentage it's supposedly the same as it ever was, but with larger numbers of poorer quality engineers it just _feels_ like things might be changing for the worse.
    * Also with growth means more internal-confidential data leaks (again, because of the raw numbers of people) -- product announcements being ruined, etc. That means the company has to be tighter-lipped internally to avoid leaks, which makes things less open. It's still an amazingly open place, but less so than it was even a couple years ago. The good thing is they recognize it and actively look to improve things because they know how important it is to keep the good culture.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep the focus on the user. Everything else will follow.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 6 people found this helpful  

    It's like being back in College again times going to Disneyland everyday

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Business Analyst in Mountain View, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Business Analyst in Mountain View, CA (US)

    I have been working at Google full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Free.Food.NOM.
    Beautiful campus, fun offices
    Free gyms & fitness classes
    Best 401k match I've ever seen
    Free transportation to work
    Generous maternity/paternity leave
    Brilliant, fun, friendly coworkers
    Larry & Sergey. Seriously, they are the best.
    Unlimited resources for personal development
    Interesting projects that are changing the world
    Bowling alleys, volleyball courts, massage chairs, laundry, etc
    Real work-life balance
    Hiring that focuses on outgoing, friendly people who are passionate about learning (as opposed to companies that only care what you know now, and if someone next to you knows .0001% more than you, you are out). Things change so quickly at Google you have to just have a good attitude and quickly learn/adapt.

    Cons

    As the company grows promotions are harder and internal politics increases. Interview process is very long (I had 14 interviews and it took months). But hands down it is still the best company to work for in the whole world, period.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop trying to concentrate all employees in MTV. There is no housing here and no one should have to put 80% of their take-home pay to rent.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Best place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Google full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Company cares how employees feel.

    Cons

    Many opportunities are only available in Mountain View.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Environment, too much power to inexperienced people managers

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in São Paulo, São Paulo (Brazil)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in São Paulo, São Paulo (Brazil)

    I have been working at Google full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Perks, Food, Offices, Great People on average, good benefits, great products, innovation everywhere you look,

    Cons

    Bad managers can ruin your experience (as it's the case everywhere). People management initial layer is often chosen by wrong reasons. Thus these folks can't effective lead, and teams end up avoiding taking risks and innovating.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Promotion mechanisms are rewarding non-Googley behavior and threatening a great culture.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Overall positive environment, with some of the most super talented yet down-to-earth colleagues I'd ever seen

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Information Technology Resident in Mountain View, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Information Technology Resident in Mountain View, CA (US)

    I worked at Google full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    - Leadership/Management is amazing (for the most part)
    - Compensation is iffy but properly backed with the amazing (seemingly endless work perks!)
    - Perks go on forever, I don't think any one single employee has ever used even up to 90% of all the base perks, not to mention some of the ones that temporarily come and go based on happening events

    Cons

    - Performance tracking is a little more cut throat then I'd have liked, with the risk of quickly escalating work environment between peers from friendly competition to rivalry
    - With so much going on, it's easy to get lost in the noise. This company was founded on DATA! and making it meaningful and available, that means you need to have proper organizational skills going in so you can effectively manage your time and make every work second count!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take some time to smell the roses, appreciate and educate your reports better. A simple gesture of encouragement could go a long way and even potentially be the difference between an under-performer and overachiever :)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great company, but not a lot hope for temp to full-time employee conversion

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA (US)

    I have been working at Google as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    It's the best place I've worked. Absolutely no doubt about that. High pay as a temp software engineer. Awesome software development tools. Fewer difficult prima donnas than you might expect for such an elite company. In fact my department had none.

    Cons

    I got hired as a temp with the understanding if all goes well would convert me. However, as many others have mentioned, it's quite the uphill challenge. I don't think it's because of my performance as they seem to like my contributions. It's almost as though because you are a temp, you are automatically branded as not as worthy as a FTE's. Having said that, I know one person who got converted, but he went through the same onerous interview process which he spent an entire 6 months preparing for, and had to join a completely different team.

    Don't join as a TVC thinking you'll have a better shot at getting in the door. It's actually the opposite. But if try anyways, do it with low expectations of any conversion. Temps are limited to 1 year max and then have to leave the company for 3 months before you can temp again. Note: some software engineers come in as a vendor and don't have the 1 yr restriction.

    As a TVC, you'll find roughly half the internal web pages are blocked since you are not a FTE, even ones you need to do your job, making it a frustrating experience to get things done. I often had bug coworkers to have them look something up for me, or just deal without the information I was seeking. Even the internal job postings are blocked.

    TVC=temp/vendor/contractor FTE=full time employee

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please give more respect to TVC's. I'm not asking to be treated the same or have equal access, but if someone is performing well, give them a better shot at FTE. After all, you have already spent a lot of money up front bringing a TVC up to speed.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Great Experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Developer in Bangaloko (Democratic Republic of Congo)
    Former Employee - Software Developer in Bangaloko (Democratic Republic of Congo)

    I worked at Google as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Good and vibrant atmosphere which helps to concentrate and yet have ease of mind

    Cons

    With great power comes great responsibility and working at google is not an easy task

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Great experience.

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Google

    Pros

    Good vibes, good people, good benefits

    Cons

    Cannot honestly think of a single one

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