Google vs. Facebook - Which One Is Better?

My trip to California could not have been complete without visiting Silicon Valley. And it's not so much because I'm an IT guy and ...

My trip to California could not have been complete without visiting Silicon Valley. And it's not so much because I'm an IT guy and I like cool technologies, but because Silicon Valley in California is where the most of innovations are being born these days. This is where lots of entrepreneurs and just talented people come from all over the world and where tens of thousands of IT start-ups pop up like mushrooms after a good summer rain. Thanks to my friends, I was able to take a peek at what Google and Facebook offices look like. 

You might be intrigued by this article’s title and still wondering which company is better – Google or Facebook. But I’ll have to disappoint you - I don’t have an answer. As the matter of fact, both look cool by appearance and both are great places to work at based on what their employees say. Let’s start with Google first.
I have to make a disclaimer here: I have not been to actual Google offices since the company’s policies do not allow visitors to their premises. The farthest I’ve been to is the lobby of one of the Googleplex buildings (pictured below).
Google makes the whole neighbourhood and resembles a university campus. Googleplex is the company’s newest real estate complex which consists of four separate buildings connected with bridges.  
Not only does it impress with its architectural style, but also it reflects the very essence of Google values. I recommend you watch a TED talk from 2004 called ‘Genesis of Google’ where Sergey Brin and Larry Page explain the cornerstones of Google and its famous culture. Back then Google was way smaller than it is now, yet you can see how consistent in terms of values it has been over the past 12 years.   
Larry Page told that both Sergey and him attended a Montessori school in their childhood. And they took "the 20 percent time" rule from it. ‘The idea is, Larry says, for 20 percent of your time, if you're working at Google, you can do what you think is the best thing to do. And many, many things at Google have come out of that, such as Orkut and also Google News. And I think many other things in the world also have come out of this.' 
As with Google News, there are many products that Google came up with that made the world we live in a better place. Think of Google Maps and especially Street View. How easy did it become to find or explore an unfamiliar place or track a new route? Does Google make money out of it? I don’t think so. Does people benefit from it? Absolutely.
Another quote from Larry Page: ‘As a part of what we want to do to grow our company is to have more searches. And what that means is we want to have more people who are healthy and educated. More animals, if they start doing searches as well. But partly, we want to make the world a better place’.
Google makes money out of advertising. That’s a fact. However they never accept payments for their search results. They always mark advertisements as such. Larry Page says that they have a tremendous ability and responsibility to provide people the right and objective information, and they view themselves like a newspaper or a magazine. I think that ensured their success as a search engine.
The 20 percent time rule ensures that Google employees keep generating ideas and, therefore Google keeps coming up with innovations. And not only Google does it. There are many companies like Google – big and small. Google just happened to be the first (or one of the first) that recognized that there is a connection between creating of a comfortable working environment and innovations. Think of Uber, Netflix, Facebook, Apple and others.
Also, as an active outdoorsman and nature lover, I can tell you this – San Francisco is such a beautiful place. Its air, its ocean, its mountains, its woods – all of these encourage you to be creative and to make the world a better place. So no wonder that Silicon Valley is where it is.
Let’s talk a little bit about makes Google an awesome place to work at besides what we’ve already discussed. The food. Lots of good and free food. You can have a breakfast, lunch and dinner in one of many Google’s eateries like this one called Yoshka’s CafĂ© at Googleplex.
You’ve tried everything you could at the Google restaurants and want something new? Not a problem. Food trucks are there to feed you with a juicy Mexican burrito or deep fried taco. Just show your Google badge. That’s all you need to eat.
Want to quick snack before meals or starving for a coffee? Small kitchenettes with coffee machines and tons of other drinks are available in every Google building. 
Another quote from Larry Page: ‘We also have a lot of engineers in those meetings, and they don't always do their laundry as much as they should. And so we found it was pretty helpful to have laundry machines, for our younger employees especially, and ... we also allow dogs and things like that, and we've had, I think, a really fun culture at our company, which helps people work and enjoy what they're doing.’
Need a haircut or forgot to shave in the morning? Not a problem! Google hire trucks with onsite hair cutters.
Unfortunately, I could not get in to the real Google office, but the visitors centre gives you an idea of what it looks like. 
A computer desk with Lego bricks. Why not – maybe this is exactly what you want to do in those 20 percent of your time.
Mems are very popular at Google. This is when people come up with different commentaries for the same picture.
‘Along with our logos, too, which I think really embody our culture when we change things. In the early days, we were actually advised we should never change our logo because we should establish our brand, you know, because, you know, you'd never want to change your logo. You want it to be consistent. And we said, "Well, that doesn't sound so much fun. Why don't we try changing it every day?" (Larry Page).
A massage chair that also plays music. They are available in every Google building. Google employees can book them for 30 minute slot. 
Another way to relax and rejuvenate is to play games – computer games, board games, sport games. 
Not sure what that means, but I saw a street sign with Amphitheatre and Movies.
Raining outside? Not a problem. You can take an umbrella and leave it in another building.
You can also ride one of the hundreds of Google bicycles to move between buildings. It’s actually unlocked, so anyone (and not just Google employees) can ride it.
And now let’s take a look at Facebook. Unlike Google, Facebook lets visitors in to their office buildings. 
Facebook also has its own campus. However you need to pass their security in order to get in. 
I started my visit to Facebook from its cafeteria. Think about all inclusive resort or a regular buffet all-you-can-eat restaurant but with less food selection. That’s how cafeteria at Facebook looks like. On Fridays, they also serve alcoholic drinks such as beer or wine.  
After having a dinner, I took a tram to the building #20. Apparently, that’s the newest one Facebook has built. 
It looks nice outside, but nothing special.
But the most interesting part of the building is on its roof. Believe it or not, but it’s a huge garden with trees, picnic tables and even short walking trails. 
You can connect with nature without living the office space. How nice is it?
You can also see other Facebook buildings from the roof.
Across the street is the San Francisco Bay with a huge salt marsh where thousands of birds such as herons and even flamingo thrive.
Back to the building #20. I especially liked the wooden elements such as walls and ladders.
A regular Facebook office looks like this. I’m glad it was already end of the working day, so there were very few people left and I could take pictures without fearing that I could capture what’s on someone’s screen.
People are encouraged to bring whatever they like to make their workplace comfortable. This includes toys, sport equipment, and so forth.
There are plenty of meeting rooms of different size. Almost all of them are equipped with video conferencing devices. Easy-to-use system to look for employees.
Like Google, Facebook uses open space to encourage creativity and innovation.
And not necessarily in a form of a new app or IT product.
Facebook employees decorate their office themselves however they like.
IT help desk which looks like a bar. In fact, you can sip a beer which is kept in a fridge while waiting for your order.
‘Eat’. Apparently, it means a lot for Facebook employees. 
As a matter of fact, Facebook has a way bigger selection of snacks and drinks.
Why not bring your kid to work? There is apparently a daycare for toddlers while you’re working. 
Mother’s room. Not many companies have them, eh?
Tooth brushes with a paste in almost every bathroom. 
Dry cleaners.
Yoga mats.
Bike storage room.
Bicycles to move between offices. Helmets protect company's the most valuable asset – brain.
Facebook took care of everything, so the only thing you should worry about is your work. My friend told me that Facebook employees often do not have any food at home. If they need something like milk, they just bring it from work.
All these things that make work comfortable at Google and Facebook reminded me a movie called ‘Wally’. People so relied on robots, so they forgot and even lost ability how to do things themselves. With Google and Facebook - isn’t it a new form of slavery that we are slowly but steadily moving toward? You no longer have to worry about food, laundry, haircuts. If you wish, you can stay at your office overnight– there are even massage chairs to ensure you have a good sleep. You make friends, marry and raise children at work. Guess what you’re going to be talking with your colleagues while playing golf, pool or volleyball? Right – your work. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing as we have seen from what Google, Facebook and alike has been doing in terms of innovations. But maybe I’m just exaggerating, and Google and Facebook only created something we all have always dreamed about – the best place to work. What do you think?

My other posts from the Trip to California:

Log Angeles from the Sky
Pacific Coast Highway - California'S Dream Drive
Point Lobos - The Crown Jewel of the California State Parks
Point Bonita - The Best Place to Photograph San Francisco Bay
Coast Redwoods - The Tallest Trees In The World
Overwhelming Beauty of Yosemite National Park
Hiking to Vernal and Nevada Falls in Yosemite
Giant Trees in Sequoia National Park
Kings Canyon - One of the Deepest Canyons in North America
The Hottest Place on Earth. But Is It Really Dead?

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