This week, I was lucky enough to have the chance to tour the Google London offices. Since each member of the Ambassador group has a blog, our amazing coordinator, Kim, set up a training session with Google on how to enhance and promote our blogs and grow our online presence. We gathered in the lobby of the large, brightly-colored office building that Google shares with a few other companies, and were escorted up to the 9th floor where their main offices are located. I assumed the offices would be sleek and trendy, and as we walked through the reception I was not disappointed:
We were given a tour of a few of the floors that comprise Google London, and were brought back to the library for our presentations.
That’s a nap pod through the glass. Yes please.
Our first presentation was “The 9 Notions of Innovation at Google“, in which Harry (one of the three brilliant hosts) illustrated Google’s commitment to its mission, “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful“. Currently, just under 30% of the world has access to the internet. To help increase that number and promote the sharing of information, Google is continually developing projects in an attempt to make the internet more accessible. Two projects mentioned were Google Fiber and Project Loon. Having lived in Kansas City, I knew all about Google Fiber, but had never heard of Project Loon…and as Harry explained it, I was blown away. Project Loon (short for ‘balloon’, I think?) “is a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps, and bring people back online after disasters”. Google’s impressive goal is to have Project Loon fully functional by 2020, providing 100% connectivity across the globe. I highly recommend reading up on it if you’re as awed by it as I was. The technology and creativity behind these projects is inspiring.
After addressing the work being done to make the world’s information accessible, we learned how Google is working to make it useful. As new ideas come up, they are put to the “toothbrush test”: is this product/app/etc. going to be used two times each day? If not, it most likely won’t be pursued until it has been developed further. An example of Google pursuing utility is their current development and testing of self-driving cars. Google is also constantly and rapidly developing their search technology such as voice technology,and the new Google Translate app which will do voice as well as Word Lens translations (hold the camera up to text in a foreign language and it will translate the text to your language).
Once we discussed the 9 Notions of Innovation, we paused for a break and had a chance to look around the library.
It was spectacular.
Enjoying the atmosphere with (most of) my Ladies Luck team 🙂 …just missing Lei!
Our next presentation was given by Jen, who outlined “10 Fundamentals of a creative strategy on YouTube“. She began by talking about current viewing trends: first, there are fewer people watching television and more people watching content online; and second, people have the ability to engage and interact with the content they watch (through sharing videos, posting comments, etc.) and are increasingly doing so. The 10 Fundamentals provided strategies and questions to ask if we decided to pursue a career as a vlogger/YouTuber. Each strategy related to one of three themes: Get Viewers, Keep Viewers Happy, and Keep Yourself Happy. The entire presentation was thought-provoking and inspiring, because most, if not all of the fundamentals applied to us as bloggers as well. It also got me brainstorming ideas for successful and sustainable YouTube channels…haven’t come up with anything worthwhile yet though.
After Jen had finished and answered our questions, the Google team and Kim had arranged for two successful vloggers/YouTubers to come in and answer our questions, explain their process to successfully developing their channels, etc. We had Sanne from booksandquills and Helen from Helen Anderson. They were both amazingly informative and graciously answered all our questions referencing their own experiences. As an English major I really enjoy Sanne’s channel, especially the videos where she features places around London which are referenced in books. I’m consistently awe-struck that most of the locations Dickens and his contemporaries were writing about still exist today, so the fact that she took time to walk around and video the locations (not necessarily Dickens’ books, the video I watched was on Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf) and then put it together in a video is genius, in my opinion.
Harry is on the far left, and for the vloggers Sanne is on the left, Helen is on the right.
At the end of the night, I was racking my brain trying to figure out how an English MA degree would get me a job at Google. Still working on it (and highly doubtful I’ll find a connection). But hey– a girl can dream. 🙂
Takeaway Tidbit: Really consider the 9 Notions and 10 Fundamentals…they’re applicable to much more than just Innovation and YouTube.