This morning I arrived at work to discover that our offices had been (further) Googlified over the weekend.
Already as soon as the merger went through, we got snack carts and huge videoconferencing monitors, and our kitchen fridges started filling up with sandwiches, sushi and organic milk from grass-fed cows.
Those were nice Google touches, but the now we’re into the visual branding phase. A number of our walls have been repainted in chipper primary colors, and our cubes all received Google nameplates (a CD case with a slip of paper inside, but still). And there’s now a Tech Stop, one of Google’s ubiquitous stations for rapid tech support.
But far weirder is the scattering of Ikea products everywhere. Google seems to have a passion for semi-disposable Swedish furniture, and especially lamps, and has kind of just tossed it wherever. There are Lyktas on the counters, Storms in the hallway, and a couple of Strannes sprouting here and there, not to mention cheery, cheap-looking tables and sofas in some of the common areas. They even took down the baby pictures that had been pasted haphazardly to a wall by the sales section, put them all in primary-colored Ikea frames, and put them back up. And of course there are lava lamps: they stuck two discreetly in our main lounge, only one of which seemed to be working when I came in.
There is something reminiscent of The Prisoner in all this, especially if you imagine this whole style translated onto a sprawling Mountainview campus traversed by golf carts. (Bizarrely enough, we were even given glowing white orbs as a welcome gift.) As in The Village, everything you need is provided for you at the Googleplex: meals, massages, a doctor, entertainment. It’s lovely and a bit infantilizing.
Am I complaining? Not really. More like adjusting. Just noticing where it jars.