Google's campus is widely regarded as one of the best, if not most fun, places to work. The Googleplex, as it's often referred to, offers employees free cuisine of every type imaginable, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. There are exercise rooms, game rooms with the latest video games, not to mention full-length basketball courts, ping pong tables, outdoor gardens, billiards, and even a miniature golf course. What's more, the colors that adorn the Googleplex are vibrant and contribute to an overall work environment that looks a lot like camp. I mean, where else can you find egg-shaped meeting rooms? And, oh yes, there's also a T-Rex skeleton on campus, subsidized massages, free laundry, a rock climbing wall and a Frisbee Golf course.
The goal, of course, isn't just to create a fun environment for play, but to foster creativity and encourage productivity amongst employees who work hard and are some of the smartest engineers on the planet.
While Google has always been big on employee benefits, quirky and useful amenities at the Googleplex have certainly become more grandiose and elaborate as Google's profits have skyrockted in recent years.
That said, I recently came across this video of Google's HQ from 1999. The video is shot by the 11-year old son of Douglas Edwards, one of Google's earliest employees. While some of the early employee perks are visible in the video, it's clear that Google has come a long way from its early days. Sure, they still offered free food, but everything on a whole looked a lot more drab. The gym, for example, looks like it's out of 1975.
In any event, take a look back at Google headquarters circa 1999, through the eyes of an 11-year old and his kid brother.
And if you're really primed for a look back at the olden days at Google, check out this video, also from Douglas Edwards, featuring Sergey Brin and Larry Page running one of Google's weekly all-staff meetings in December of '99.