back to article The Register obtains covert snaps of Google's new London offices

Undercover Register snappers have penetrated Google's new London offices to bring you an early look at the type of working conditions the Chocolate Factory offers its London-based Ooompa Loompas. First off, there's a pom-pom creating room ... pompom room The results of their work are then placed inside the "conference …


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  1. Josco
    Thumb Up


    My office is a basement with some dingy windows overlooking a rat infested open drain in Leeds.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WOW!

      You're lucky! I work in a basement just about as far away from a window as you can get.

      Those booths look a bit - inappropriate - I can't think of a better word

      1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

        Re: WOW!

        I work in a small office, hidden at the back of a school, with a lovely view of an air-conditioning machine (or three) and (just visible) the length of a long outside path to a brick building regularly trampled by screaming kids. If I really squint from the right angle, I can see the top of a dead tree. However, I now have an unrivalled knowledge of the outside cabling due to the fact that it all runs across buildings and into my view before coming into my office.

        You people don't know you've lived until you've tried to code C with classes of nursery-age children tearing past your window while workmen trample all over your roof and rip up all your cables.

        1. Skrynesaver

          Re: WOW!

          Screaming kids and heavily shod workmen, you don't know you're born mate, when I were a lad we'd an office in a converted Victorian grain-store beside a fire-station on the docks. the wind whistled through that place pushing the rats before it. There were days during the winter when it got down to -3...Kelvin the rats were so big there was 2 meals on them and the smell from the printing works down-stairs was worse than the noise... You tell that to young people today and they won't believe you (OK, it was Celcius and we never barbecued the rats, though I reckon they were closer to a hare than a rabbit in body mass, but otherwise not a word of a lie.)

      2. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: WOW!

        Windows are overrated.

        I've got a shiny, new 5th floor corner office that attracts light and heat in the same way that dead camels attract flies. I get a choice of windows closed and sweat or windows open and deafened by the pile-drivers, cranes and excavators working on the motorway tunnel construction outside. Oh and gassed by the diesel fumes from the honking great queue of trucks trying to get through the roadworks when the wind's in the right direction for added fun.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: WOW!


          Luxury. My office is a septic tank at the bottom of a rubbish tip.


          1. Jon Double Nice

            Re: WOW!


            What I wouldn't do to work in a septic tank at the bottom of a rubbish tip!

            Honestly, I have to catch my office, gut it using only a blunt stick and my own teeth, then crawl inside it to keep warm.


            1. Rob

              Re: WOW!


              In my day, we used to have to build our office out of dung first before we could start work, then eat it at the end of the day and then pick up a piece of coal and a worm for the kids to eat on the way home.


            2. Minophis

              Re: WOW!


              Of course we have it tough,

              there's 150 of us working in a shoe box in tthe middle of road. I have to get up at 10 o'clock at night, half an hour before I go to bed, eat a handful of cold poison, work 29 hours a day and pay development director for permission to come to work.


              1. Timmay

                Re: WOW!


                That's nothing. I work at Foxconn.


                1. Armando 123

                  Re: @Timmay

                  You win.

                  1. The Original Cactus
                    Thumb Up

                    @ Minophis, Timmay and Armando


                2. LinkOfHyrule

                  Re: WOW!

                  Yorkshire mills were the inspiration for Foxconn! The only thing Foxconn did differently was stack the back-to-back workers cottages on top of one another to form huge dormitories and then dangerously overcrowd them.

                  Mine's the one labelled "Made in Yorkshire"

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: WOW! @TeeCee

          "Windows are overrated."

          Microsoft Windows especially so?

    2. Scott Earle
      Thumb Up

      Re: WOW!

      My office overlooks Soi Cowboy in Bangkok ...

      If you don't know what that is, be warned that it is NSFW.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: WOW! ...... and NaNaNaNaNa to all that too only a short stroll away. Life's a bitch, eh?

        Hi, Scott,

        $100 says you wouldn't change it for the world. :-)

    3. Barry Rueger

      Re: WOW!

      Sealed seventies construction. Fresh air intake for the entire building is located in the loading dock.

      I love the smell of monoxide in the morning. Really helps productivity.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I used to work in a place vaguely reminiscent of that. In the cyclist photo, does the wavy wall have doors which face away into the building so you can't see them from the end of the corridor?

    Good call on the drinking booths in the board room IMO.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      "I used to work in a place vaguely reminiscent of that."

      The only place[1] I know that's vaguely reminscent of that is Portmeirion.

      [1] Well, anywhere can be like that with LSD....

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's like 2001 again...

    I used to work for a social networking site in London that had:

    A secret 'granny flat' behind a BT phone box. Granny flat has nasty wallpaper, dinning table, ducks on the wall, wing-back chairs, projected views of various places as windows.

    A torture/board room. In the middle was a table with rubber human organs under a sheet of glass.

    *That submarine door, done it years ago!

    Gibbet cages complete with bodies and nasty things

    A Mexican jail

    Cold war nuclear bunker

    Tree house meeting room (on an indoor tree)

    Indoor waterfall and much better places to sit/meet

    US-style 1950's Snack bar/ coffee/tee wagon (inside)

    Tropical/jungle areas

    Gig room with bar area.

    Google's interior designers appear to have either worked at the same place or been scanning a search engine...oh.

    I wonder if any of your other readers have also worked in places where money wasn't a problem when it came to interior design?

    1. frank ly

      Re: It's like 2001 again..."...where money wasn't a problem ..."

      Money can't buy good taste.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You may enter the Diary Room now.

    Was the Big Brother theme intentional?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: You may enter the Diary Room now.

      Glad to see I'm not the only one who thought that.

      Trying too hard to be stylish and ending up gaudy and impractical me thinks...

  5. Jonathon Green

    Was anybody else slightly disapointed to find this wasn't a Playmobil reconstruction?

    1. SoaG

      First thing through my mind on seeing the headline was, "What? Friday already?"

      Of course it would appear the decorator also thought it was Friday and spent a few hours at the pub.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Pub? The only pub this might have come from is one of those high class places in Soho. You know, the ones where the mirrors in the bathroom are mounted on a table and there are special room in the back where they keep the thai ladyboys.

        I hear they're doing a booming trade now the tories are in power again.

    2. Tim #3

      Not only that, but did anyone else take quite a while searching the first pictures for the playmobil characters?

  6. Mondo the Magnificent

    I wonder...

    Who leaked those photos?

    Kudos to the whistleblower, he is a person of magnificence!

  7. Scott Broukell

    Office Plants

    For all of the peeps in dingy basements and that, might I suggest the introduction of copious office plants. Many species are more than happy with low light levels and even the emissions from office devices such as laser printers etc. They really can improve the working environment to great effect and you can take pleasure in pampering them, even though many are low maintenance - plants generally respond well to some acknowledgement of their being there - nice :-)

    1. Darryl

      Re: Office Plants

      IT Guys generally respond well to some acknowledgement of their being there too.

      (Not counting when the email has quit, of course)

  8. Winkypop Silver badge

    It makes me think


    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Re: It makes me think

      Completely Unrealistic, Like Theyalwaysare.


  9. Miek
    Thumb Down

    Pom-pom chairs and beanbags; great if you have short legs.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You think people who choose to work in that environment have any sense of dignity? It looks like a primary school on LSD. Works for the average Google employee I guess. Would love to see the photos of the nappy change room...............

  11. Terry 13

    Has anyone ever met any nice employee of Google UK?

    Just a question, because I never have. I've met nice people who have worked or work for Microsoft, IBM, even Oracle occasionally, but never Google. Does Google UK have an HR policy that excludes nice people, or have just missed them? Everyone I've ever met who worked or works for Google UK has been a complete wanker: an arrogant and charmless cross between an autistic techie and the worst kind of Yellow Pages salesperson. How come?

    1. petur

      Re: Has anyone ever met any nice employee of Google UK?

      Yups... brilliant too...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Has anyone ever met any nice employee of Google UK?

      I would imagine working in an office that looks like that would do that to you after a while.

    3. Paul 37

      Re: Has anyone ever met any nice employee of Google UK?

      Ah... I know that

      It's called "HP Syndrome"

  12. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


    Time to short the shares?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Daily Mail

    How soon do you think these pics will be ripped off by the Daily Mail - this afternoon or tomorrow morning?

  14. jai

    Just what sort of party is this room intended for?

    that scene out of Boondock Saints when they come in through the air con vent in the ceiling, twisted up in the rope, and spin round firing the 9mm's and waste all the russian mafia types that were sitting in there

    1. Tim #3

      Re: Just what sort of party is this room intended for?

      more likely the sort of party frequented by moustachioed Germans and their schone co-stars

      1. Anonymous C0ward

        Re: Just what sort of party is this room intended for?

        I wouldn't want to clean *that* mess up.

    2. bobbles31

      Re: Just what sort of party is this room intended for?

      I think Max Mosley has an invite.

      The one with the summons in the pocket please.

  15. Rob


    My kid loves soft play, I might take him along, I take it the sign-in sheet for parents is at reception. Could you point me in the direction of OFSTED report for this place?

  16. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Give me the dingy basement any day

    I can't make up my mind if they are simply 'trying too hard' or really don't have a clue. It's like something a four year old would have vomited up.

    I guess there are going to some bargains around London's furniture and charity shops in the coming weeks; "designer table and chair set; one chair missing". This is what happens when one takes 'concept' and turns it into reality. I've seen better results delivered on Changing Rooms.


  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks like a clash of cultures

    1930s Berlin club

    1950s Festival of Britain

    1970s Abigails Party

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a load of bollox.

    So who exactly is going to be using this? Those really hard working young middle management types with lots of creative energy who need their own space to come up with 'awesome' products?

    I've worked at places like this and from my limited experience it just produces lazy work shy c*nts who'd rather be planning 'lunch' and their next squash game instead of getting some f*cking work done.

    But, I guess if you've got loads of money to piss around with then good for them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a load of bollox.

      They'll just do a lot of daydreaming and then just rob their ideas off someone else.

  19. Admiral Grace Hopper

    If the installation of a fountain in the foyer of HQ the death knell of a company - which it is - what does it mean when the whole office is tricked out like a nursery?

  20. Turtle


    I looked at the pictures of the tasteless interiors but, because I am well aware that money does not buy sophistication, I found no surprises whatsoever.

    What I did find, was that this was, in its own way, analogous to the large multi-storey toilet bowl in the woods that Apple is building for its new headquarters. But then again, the only work of artistic merit that Apple has ever produced, has been those heavily photoshopped pictures of Steve Jobs.

    Compare all the foregoing with JP Morgan's art collection and library. Sometimes it seems as though only technology advances, and not anything else.

  21. Armando 123


    I thought things that tasteless ended in the 70s. Seriously, I have expect a mucus-green Austin Allegro or a burnt orange AMC Gremlin in the parking lot.

    Sometimes I get the impression that Google isn't entirely run by grown-ups.

    1. Oninoshiko

      Re: Wow


  22. SoaG

    Actually not Google's offices

    Still hiring staff for that part, so they've just sub-let the space for a few weeks.

    That's one of the sets for the next Austin Powers movie.

    1. Darryl

      Re: Actually not Google's offices

      Damn, beat me to it... I was going to say all it needed was a little more shag carpet and Austin Powers VII is ready to shoot

  23. Wize

    What the hell are they planning to do in these offices?

    Looks like its for sitting about chatting, not actually working.

    Think of any poor sod trying to use their laptop for any length of time in any of those environments.

    All well and good, sitting about being 'creative' ( but I expect their bosses want some sort of end product.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What the hell are they planning to do in these offices?

      I assume they have rows of neatly-aligned desks somewhere, but somehow these pictures never make it in the leaks...

  24. John A Blackley

    Ah well

    Ah, the Great British Moan. About the only thing still great in Britain.

  25. The Commenter formally known as Matt

    is it just me

    or do almost all of those chairs look massively uncomfortable?

    not great for productivity

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Been there

    Most of the pics you have shown are break-out areas or meeting rooms. The working areas are relatively normal apart from the doors, and the booths, where you can go and do work in peace, or hold one-to-ones. They also have an amazing staff canteen.

    The most memorable part though was the carpets, which have a pile deeper than some swimming pools. It's like walking on clouds.

    Anonymous in case our future overlords' carpets are somehow a vital secret.

  27. Andrew Jones 2

    I must say I am quite surprised to see that Google UK are actually staying......

    The easiest way to deal with cookie law that is shortly to be enforced in this country is quite simply - not to have any headquarters in a country that is enforcing it. Don't be surprised in 3 - 4 months time when Big Companies pack up in the UK and move somewhere where a small text file on a visitors computer is not considered illegal.

  28. h4rm0ny

    I assume I'm being trolled?

    These are mock-ups or similar by El Reg, who are well known for their senses of humour.

    1. Mondo the Magnificent

      Re: I assume I'm being trolled?

      I assure you they are genuine photos.. remember some ElReg readers have been to those offices..

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Granny chairs? Design classics you mean

    They're the LCW (Lounge Chair Wood) by Ray and Charles Eames - RRP about £900 a shot, if they're from a good manufacturer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Granny chairs? Design classics you mean

      Nobody ever got fired for buying Eames?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks lovely

    But that wont cover the fact that one of their biggest online advertising competitors, Specific Media, is on the top floor of St Giles, right above Googles head. Feng Shui and all that.



    I imagine the many app developers who have not received their March payments and have been unable to get through to google will be groaning at the lack of phones anywhere.

  32. Microphage
    IT Angle

    tastless article ..

    But it's what we've come to expect from the REG ...

    1. Armando 123

      Re: tastless article ..

      Tasteless article? Only in that it is an article about some VERY tasteless decor.

  33. Peter Stone

    The first pic,

    On seeing the first picture, my inital thought was, that someone had scattered giant licorice allsorts on the floor.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Looks lovely

    > Specific Media, is on the top floor of St Giles, right above Googles head

    Nothing that a bit of M&A can't sort out my dear..... then their contractors can get a nice cushy design & build job for the floor above too !

  35. HeNe

    How does it affect your performance review ...

    ... If you're seen to be actually using these flumpy, humpy, floopy, hoopy lounge areas?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ha! So that's where they engage on their circle wanking sessions.

    I knew it.

  37. zorgster

    I used to work in the two floors below these Google offices - I left in 2003 so they aren't new offices... our floors were nothing like this, just run-of-the-mill bog standard offices - and they never invited us up...

    1. Sir Cosmo Bonsor

      No you didn't. The building was only completed last year.

  38. Kanhef

    Famous architects

    Avoid them like the plague, chlorine trifluoride, and IE 6 combined. Their work is overpriced, gaudy, and made to be 'interesting' or 'novel'. Quality and utility are sacrificed, often to the point that junior draftsmen could do better.

  39. Sceptic Tank Silver badge

    Green door.... (on page 2)

    Door slammed

    hospitality's thin there.

    Don't know what they're doin'

    But they laugh a lot behind the green door.

    Green door

    what's that secret you're keepin'?

    etc., etc.

  40. Snot Rot

    'Honking' is a pretty good word. I like the word 'Honking'. I normally use it to reference a horrific smell, i.e. "Jesus Christ, its F**king honking in here".

    Sometimes I go for the plural, i.e. "Mate, your sandwich honks.".

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