On Tuesday, Google celebrated the opening of their new Fremont office with an open house. When I received my invitation, I reflected on the open house they had for their Kirkland office, over three years ago. It is impressive to think how far they have come. The last open house was right before the release of Google Maps, which has made impressive strides itself.
The day of the open house, I saw a Metro bus modeled after their master plan whiteboard that was advertising the new development center.
The open house was quite the party. It was much larger and hipper than Kirkland–matching the neighborhood, I guess. The office was completely illuminated with colored lights and there was loud dance music playing. The drink glasses contained a glowing liquid, like a giant glow stick that flowed when used. I subsisted on free beer and tapenade. They had a demo area with Googlers demoing their projects. I already knew about all the products, but I wished the Reader team was there so I could complain about Reader's 30 day memory. I thought it was funny the Webmaster Central group was using Matt Cutts' blog for their demo.
The party was a veritable who's who of the last three years of my life. About a half dozen of my former professors were there, along with nearly all of my CS friends. I met with bike hobos and coworkers (intersecting groups, mind you). I ran into Amanda Camp–who ran last summer's scalability conference–while getting my massage. Jeff Dean and Alan Eustace were there. Fortunately, Robert Scoble was absent this time.
In my opinion, the party was great. It was the closest I've come to a true VC-funded San Francisco dot-com party. Two days later I met some Yahoo! recruiters and not-so-inconspicuously hinted that they should have an open house for their new Bellevue offices. I made sure to slip them my card so I'd get an invite. We'll see if anything comes up.