On December 7th, Will Schroeder and I took the morning train from Albany to NYC to visit the Google office in NYC. The purpose of the trip was to give a Google Tech Talk on the CMake family of tools. The journey actually started in the fall of 2008 when Chris Dibona from Google gave a talk for the RPI open source course. I had the pleasure of having dinner with Chris and mentioned that I would like to do a tech talk. I meet Chris again in July of 2009 at OSCON where he introduced me to Dan Bentley who works at Google NYC. Dan hosted Will and I at Google and setup the talk. After arriving at NY Penn we found our way to the Google office using my new Android phone and Google navigator.
The Google office we visited is at 111 8th ave. When you enter the building there is a security desk where we called Dan, and were told to take the elevator to the floor of the Google office. Upon leaving the elevator, we were greeted by the Google reception desk, and a computer terminal. In order to proceed, we needed to electronically sign an NDA at the computer terminal. It then spit out a name tag sticker with my name and Dan’s name. Dan then escorted us to his office area. The office was much bigger than I had expected. Dan said there were about 2000 Google employees in this office! However, many of them are in marketing and support, not a high percentage of developers.
From his office we moved to the presentation room for the talk. The room used to be a loading dock and has a huge freight elevator that can be heard rumbling by from time to time. The elevator is large enough to put a whole semi truck into and bring up to the 6th floor of this building. It really makes quite a rumble. The physical talk ended up with a very small audience. Mark Mentovai author of GYP (another build tool), Dan, Will, and couple others were it. There were also a few people from Google California watching. This was not a surprise or a disappointment as Google is not YET using CMake. I hoped that the real audience would be the people viewing the talk on YouTube. Despite the small local audience, the questions were good.
After the talk, Will and I were treated to the legendary Google cafeteria. It was quite amazing with a huge selection of really good food. The Google folks talk about the the Google 15, which is the number of pounds you gain in the first 6 months at Google. I could really see that happening. After that we had a tour of the rest of the office, Wii games, workout stuff, ball pits, legos, razor scooters (visitors are not allowed to ride those). Will and I then headed back to Clifton Park.
Anyway, after waiting about a month, the video is now up on YouTube! So far my talk has had over 2500 views, so the virutal audience has been much larger than the physical one. If you are interested in hearing about the latest features of CMake/CTest/CPack/CDash, or want to introduce CMake to new people this should be a great resource. Here is the talk:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ut9o4OdSC0&feature=youtube_gdata (direct link to video on YouTube).
I am generally happy with the video, but I was not told that the audience was not being mic’ed and I did not repeat the questions. So, it sort of looks like I am hearing voices and talking to myself at times… 🙂