Unlike most corporate campuses, Google actually feels like a college. The Googleplex in Mountain View, California, oozes ambition, fun, and an undeniable sense of community. The perks are as good as advertised -- and strategic. Google applies the same ingenuity to its internal operations as it does to Internet search, eliminating distraction so employees can keep thinking big.

Google offices are spread out, which could easily hinder collaboration. Walking is often too time-consuming, and driving isn't practical given the demand for parking. The solution? Dozens of free company bikes -- like the one that software engineer Stefan Kuhne is using here. The basket in front is for laptops, natch.

In addition to the bikes, which are lined up outside most buildings, employees can opt for these zippy company scooters. There's also the tandem bike that seats eight riders. Now that's teamwork.

To avoid IT-related delays and downtime, the company makes repairs unbelievably convenient. Employees with buggy browsers or overheated hard drives simply walk into one of the Tech Stops located throughout the Googleplex. The stations work like a doc-in-a-box staffed by IT experts.

It's easy to dismiss Google's perks as cushy, but often, they're as clever and useful as the "Did you mean?" function in its search engine. Take its laundry service. In addition to a free laundry room, Google has paid dry-cleaning pickup service. The convenience doesn't end there. The company also arranges for on-site oil changes.

Google has four full-time physicians, including an allergist. "We're trying to make your life outside the office more efficient," says HR manager Anne Driscoll. "We don't want you to spend three hours going to the doctor. Let's have doctors here on site, so it'll take 20 minutes."

Google operates a fleet of comfy, Wi-Fi-equipped shuttles that transport 1,200 employees a day from San Francisco to Mountain View. "It's insanely practical," says Matt Glotzbach, a product management director. "I get an extra two to three hours of productive time every day. People do e-mail, read books, listen to music. The shuttle eliminates the most stressful part of the day."

The downside of taking the shuttle to work is not having a car during the day. How do you meet with partners or customers? Employees hop in the company's plug-in hybrids that are part of its car-sharing fleet. An added bonus: Googlers give this cutting-edge technology much-needed visibility around town.

With more than 9,000 solar panels covering its buildings, Google has one of the largest corporate installations in the world. At peak output, on sunny days, the panels produce about 30% of the electricity needed for each corresponding building. "It's a significant chunk," says Bill Weihl, Google's green energy czar.

The Googleplex has 17 cafeterias that offer employees up to three free meals a day. The menus change daily. The philosophy doesn't. Chefs teach their captive audience about sweeteners, portions, the environmental consequences of plastic water bottles. That's why every table has a bottle of filtered water.

"I thought corporate food was about pre-made sauces and things dumped out of cans," says executive chef Josef Desimone. "But it's not like that [at Google]. We cook from scratch... We've got people from all over the world, and we think about bringing a piece of everybody's culture here. I'll hit them up for their grandma's recipes."

This gallery, displayed in one of the main buildings, captures the company's stature and playfulness. Here's a who's who of Googleplex visitors: Bill Clinton, George Soros, Jane Goodall, Robin Williams, Gwyneth Paltrow -- pictured alongside engineer Tan Chade-Meng. What started as a lark is now a routine part of visiting Google.

There's a number of massage rooms on campus where employees can get half-hour massages from trained therapists. Not to be confused with the rooms reserved for meditation.

No time to visit the massage therapist? No problem. That's what the cushy massage chairs around the offices are for. Here, application support specialist Matt Nicol takes advantage of one while taking his work with him.

Dogs are fairly common at startups, not at companies as big as Google. As long as the dogs are well behaved, they're welcome at the Googleplex. Here's software engineer Juliana Jaeger and her companion, Newton.

Forget that gym membership. Google has a spacious exercise room with personal trainers, an outdoor volleyball court, a basketball court, even a lap pool. "I can imagine a different company doing the same things and yet it could feel corporate and insincere," says engineering manager Niniane Wang. "The sentiment behind Google's actions is really important."

Part of the collegiate feel comes from all the games available around the office to employees-- ping pong, foosball, chess, pool, Wii, you name it.

In most buildings, there's a huge whiteboard that stretches nearly the length of a wall. At least it starts out white, but soon, it's filled with doodles, shout-outs, ideas, and, in one case, an enormous diagram for a Rube Goldberg-like machine.

Google chefs are committed to using local fresh foods. That includes growing some of their own vegetables and spices in 100 EarthBoxes, developed by the Growing Connection, a nonprofit that promotes sustainable food production. The planters, located in the main courtyard, demonstrate innovative techniques being used by communities in the developing world.

This may look like a booth at the International Toy Fair, but it's really the cube where Rudy Schusteritsch, a user-experience research manager, gets his work done. Google encourages employees to have fun personalizing their space, and they don't disappoint. Some even hold contests for the most tricked-out cube.

New Googlers are called Nooglers. They start out having lunch together in a designated area in the cafeteria to foster community and publicize new hires. An in-house tool called Percents calculates the percentage of people newer than a given employee. The rule of thumb: When you've been around longer than 1% of the staff, you cease to be a Noogler.

At night you can't help but notice how many people are still around. Not everyone's working, though. Some play Wii tennis, shoot hoops, jog around campus. It seems so, well, ordinary. But it's remarkable. How many companies do you know where employees don't want to leave at the end of the day?

Fast Company

Tour the Googleplex

Unlike most corporate campuses, Google actually feels like a college. The Googleplex in Mountain View, California, oozes ambition, fun, and an undeniable sense of community. The perks are as good as advertised -- and strategic. Google applies the same ingenuity to its internal operations as it does to Internet search, eliminating distraction so employees can keep thinking big.

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