Inside Google's Michigan Office - InformationWeek

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Inside Google's Michigan Office

We've got photos of Google's snazzy new digs in Ann Arbor, Mich., the headquarters for its AdWords division.

Google has its sprawling headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., and flashy offices in Manhattan. But it's got another growing office close to the country's heartland: Ann Arbor, Mich.




Google Ann Arbor is downtown near the University of Michigan campus.
(click for image gallery)

Google Ann Arbor also is hiring -- for 850 positions, in fact. Opened last year, Google promised the state as part of a tax-break deal that it will hire 1,000 people in Ann Arbor over the next few years. Google has hired just over 150 employees so far, and is expanding from one to four floors in a downtown Ann Arbor office building.

Google Ann Arbor is the new headquarters for AdWords, the company's advertising system and its largest revenue source. Most of the facilities' employees are AdWords sales and customer service representatives. Google is familiar with the area: Co-founder Larry Page grew up in the state and got his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The company views the region as a hot talent pool of college graduates that don't require the high salaries needed to live comfortably in Manhattan and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Grady Burnett, director of online sales and operations at Google Ann Arbor, said the office draws graduates from both Midwestern and East Coast universities, and occasionally graduates from West Coast universities.

Google Ann Arbor is a smaller, toned-down version of the company's pampering headquarters in Mountain View. Employees are treated to free hot lunches and an abundance of snacks and drinks; Starbucks latte machines; masseuse services; an onsite workout facility; and staff trips to places like Squaw Valley ski resort in California.

The company also hopes to lure talent with the city's quality of life. The culture is youthful -- about one in three people in Ann Arbor's population of 115,000 is an undergraduate or graduate student at the University of Michigan. The city's politics lean to the left, and the university and its medical center draw students and staff from China, India, the Middle East, Europe, and other regions.

Ann Arbor also is known for its dedicated fan base for the University of Michigan Wolverines football team, and has the largest football stadium in the country ("The Big House") that on football Saturdays often meets or exceeds its capacity for 112,000 people.

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