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The Internship According to a Real Google Intern
Caleb Pershan | Photo: Fotinakis via Flickr | June 7, 2013
With the release of Vince Vaugh and Owen Wilson's The Internship, we had to wonder: how much of the movie is gimmicks and how much is genuine? We hung out with a former Google intern (over Gchat, of course).
SFMag GChat Status: Available
Google_Intern GChat status: Available
SFMag: Interns at Google seem to, according to the "film," range in age a great deal. Typically interns are what, 15 to 45?
Google_Intern: Well so there are some PhD student interns (a bunch, in fact) who are older than the undergrad interns. And then there are some very young kids who are here for different events (like developer's conferences or other kid stuff). But I'd say the age range is more like 18 to 28. That's actually a common complaint about Google, that there aren't all that many people over say 40 who work here.
SFMag: Have you really seen people on that meeting bicycle thing, where people sit facing each other while pedaling around campus?
Google_Intern: Actually yes, that does exist, and you have to reserve it like a conference room. I think one person steers and everyone else pedals? I’m not too sure about the underlying mechanics of the thing. I'm just a software engineer. I don't do hardware.
SFMag: Sergey Brin—does he really ride around on his Segway, or did they change it for the movie because he actually rides on Google's secret X Project?
Google_Intern: Oh no, he's graduated from the Segway. This is his ride these days.
SFMag: A question about Google’s food: supposedly it's fantastic and organic. What are the drawbacks? Forced juice cleanses? No crappy pizza?
Google_Intern: No bottled water. That's contentious. There's a vending machine somewhere with a bunch of junk food that isn't free, like everything else is. And it's priced based on how bad it is for you, so the candies on the higher end of the caloric spectrum are more expensive. The true drawback, of course, is that nobody knows how to cook food for themselves (myself included.) What a nanny state!
SFMag: Obviously everyone on the Google campus wears Google Glass. Does it help performance while googlers are busy playing ping pong, pool, and volleyball all day?
Google_Intern: Particularly helpful with pool (imagine something like this), less so with ping pong for the time being, and extraordinarily helpful when playing poker. That's because with Glass, you can see people's thoughts.
SFMag: Did you take the Google bus to work as an intern, or did you take the secret high-speed pneumatic tubes under the city?
Google_Intern: I interned a while back. They had just started building the tubes but what I heard was that they were actually slower than the shuttles and super-dangerous. So I just took that swanky bus.
SFMag: What flavor is the Google Kool-Aid exactly?
Google_Intern: I think each cafe (there are too many to count) has a different flavor. For example, today mine was cucumber-melon (fresh cucumber, fresh melon, very refreshing).
SFMag: So, will you be seeing the movie?
Google_Intern: I think they're giving out free tickets. But I have to work.