Google I/O in Pictures: Google Culture at Work

I had a few miscellaneous notes on Google I/O that I wanted to share, including a few anthropological observations best made with pictures.

  • I thought it was really interesting that there were more registration lines for Academia than there were for general admission. Google knows the same truth as Apple, that students are the future. They are making it really easy for students to get on board with their developer platforms. (I believe that there was a much lower student rate for Google I/O admission.) Good on them. (Note to self: we need a really good student rate for O’Reilly conferences too.)


  • Google was having a bit of fun with their Streetview technology, with a bike riding around the conference creating a Streetview style experience of the event. Don’t know if the view is up yet. If so, someone please post a link!

  • I loved seeing the bike parking area, manned by a volunteer from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, who said that they were glad of the chance that Google was giving them to get additional visibility. (Again, note to self: we need to work with to do this for the Web 2.0 Expo, or just handle the bike parking ourselves. It would be great to do the same for Expo NY.)


Taken together, these images show a company whose unique culture shows through in small ways. This isn’t marketing that you can fake; these small touches are a reflection of who Google is as a company.

As John Cowper Powys said, in one of my favorite books, The Meaning of Culture (1929):

Culture is what is left over after you have forgotten all you have definitely set out to learn…One always feels that a merely educated man holds his philosophical views as if they were so many pennies in his pocket. They are separate from his life. Whereas with a cultured man there is no gap or lacuna between his opinions and his life. Both are dominated by the same organic, inevitable fatality. They are what he is.

Great companies always have this sense of authenticity, while “me too” companies have a culture made up of the latest management fashions.
I like to think that O’Reilly has an authentic culture. Our idiosyncracies are our strength, leading us in unexpected directions that is somehow true to something we might not recognize if we were following a map laid down by someone else.

  • Laura Vecchio

    I love the idea of lower student rates! I would be attending many more of these events if there were!

  • Suddenly, I feel better about Google.

  • Until Google ceases filtering searches in China to bend to China’s oppressive regime, I will not vote for Google with my dollars. If we do not promote freedom of speech on EVERY level, we will, all, lose our freedom of speech …it is that simple.

    You, actually, HAVE the power to make China FREE and end their oppressive ways, IF you will, Google. Get it straight …or move your entire organization to China and STAY there.

  • A google sales rep came over a few months ago to talk to us here at Bristol University about using cloud services like google maps or docs. It seemed the only reason they were pushing it so much on academic institutions was “get em hooked when they’re young” – and basically the business model doesn’t really seem to work if it’s going to be ad-served or free in the long term, and the possibility of changes to services or for-pay in future should be taken into account.

    The main reason bristol university’s techies would have gone for it, was lack of an open source alternative that we can install and maintain ourselves. But those alternatives are appearing, and google wave, I hope, will add to that even more.


  • ObviousDelimmea

    @itequates: China has been at the oppression thing longer than You guys have been at the Freedom thing. Modern Freedom like ~200 years old, where China has been at it since 221BC. They have more tricks and can leverage the latent disjunction between Money and Freedom.

    Americans realized despite technological breakthroughs in WMDs, they couldn’t finance the long drawn out war with China. Even though Americans show willingness to use advancements in energy to create and use WMDs (Japan), China called America’s hand in Korea, then again in Tibet.

    Americans do NOT want to take on China, pure and simple. 200 years of existing versus 2000 years of experience just don’t equate.

  • TheRealObviousDelimmea


    It’s always cute when the little 50 cent army members of the CPC** come on these sites to spout firebranded nationalism. It’s OK little guy: a pitbull doesn’t mind when a poodle nips at its heels.


  • Max

    Follow itequates comment. Its not what I think about the whole situation, but I agree with him on this particular subject.

  • Yes google always was encouraging students after all it was founded by stanford students .

    I really love Google Summer of Code where students are encouraged to join open source software of their choice .

    Bike parking wow that sends good signals :)

  • Hi Tim,

    I’ve quoted you and linked to you on my latest blog post “Web 3.0 it’s in your trousers!”

    I hope you dont mind my joke about the interview taking place outside the jacks in McDonalds in Youghal. I try to keep the tone light wherever possible, tech stuff can get quite boring otherwise. As a fellow Irishman I guess you understand the sense of humour. If not Ill amend it!

    As the authority on the topic being discussed in me blog it would be mega if you were to post a comment with your thoughts on the matter!

    I understand you are a very busy man so it would be much appreciated.

    Anyhow keep up the great work you do us proud.

    All the best,