Travels in Silicon Valley - Part 1 facebook and Google

Google 'like' sign

I paid homage to the tech companies in Silicon Valley while on holiday (geeky I know). Having worked with Cisco technologies for over twenty years now, I just wanted to take a look at the Cisco campus and see for myself what it looked like - might as well throw in a few other tech companies while I was at it, I thought.

This article is the first part of a two part series. In the second article, I'll run though my impressions of the Cisco and Apple campuses.

Starting off at facebook, I asked onsite, but there's no tour, or visitor centre. The place is pretty big though - maybe twenty 4 or 5 storey buildings painted in an array of colours. We were allowed to take a picture though in front of the main sign. It's a weird note, but on the back of the sign it had the Sun Microsystems logo - rusting away. Looks like they just turned the sign around. The address is 1 Hacker Way - I am guessing that's an intentional amusing joke.

facebook Sign     facebook Sign - Sun Microsystems

facebook and the curious reverse of the sign

It was a bit disappointing not being able to find a visitor centre there for such a large company - but as it turns out that's pretty standard amongst the tech companies I visited.

Next up was a visit to Google's campus. As a side note, the museum of computing is nearby - and a massive shame it was closed on Mondays as they have such as brilliant array of historic - and not so historic - computing. Don't miss it if you're in the area.

Google has a 'beta' visitor centre - only open if you have a member of google staff show you round - a disappointment to the people milling around hoping for a glimpse of what the visitor centre had to offer - instead content to take pictures with the street mapping car and the multi-coloured google bike.

Googles Multicoloured Bike

Google's Multi-coloured Bike

There were people genuinely commuting around the place on these bikes. The campus is sprawling - the area the visitor centre is located in though, has wholly unremarkable buildings, brownish in colour and a few stories high. The visitor centre has a sign directing you towards the Android garden, so off we went for a look.

It's essentially a bunch of polystyrene Android figures. Bit of fun to pose with the giant Kit Kat Android figure and others.

Android Jelly BeanAndroid Kit Kat

Android Jelly Bean and Android Kit Kat

Summary of visit opportunities to Facebook and Google:

  • facebook – you can get a tour if you have approval from a facebook employee
  • Google – you can access the visitor centre with a google employee – or view the Android garden without

...And if you drive to Google there's an electric charging station!

Google Charging Station

Google Charging Station

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