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“What would be a fun way to show students what it’s like to work at Google, rather than just tell them about it?” My manager asked me this question a little over a year ago as we started planning for the upcoming campus recruiting season. Tech talks, career fairs, info sessions — these were our bread and butter events, and we knew there was a missed opportunity to come up with some more creative and innovative programs.

In typical Google fashion, my initial step was to get a few engineers in a room to brainstorm ideas. Some of the more obvious ideas were thrown out — host a hackathon, coding workshop, bring students to a Google office, etc. Then Eddie (the engineer who ended up leading this project) suggested, “Why not build a game that mimics what it’s like to launch a product at Google?” We all sort of laughed, then quickly realized this was a pretty genius (but daunting!) idea. We rallied a group of engineers to take this on as a 20% project, and the game took on a life of its own.



Building a card game 101

As we started working, we quickly discovered that quite a few of our coworkers had either built games like this before or were game aficionados (aka. the group of Googlers who meet up weekly to play board/card games). They provided guidance as we set out goals for the game (first and foremost, it had to be fun!) and general insight as to how long this whole process would take.

After a few months of developing the game dynamics (and building an automatic card generation pipeline, of course), we put an early version into the hands of interns to get some real feedback. Based on their comments, we continued to iterate (pun intended) and make changes to ensure that the game was still satisfying our initial set of goals. We introduced the game to more Googlers to continue collecting feedback, then took the game to the University of Texas at Austin for a true beta test. Feedback continued to remain positive, so we decided it was time to launch the game on a broader scale.

The team playing one of our earliest versions of the game (in black and white!).

So how do you play?

Launch & Iterate is a team cooperative card game with the goal of launching products in order to gain as many users as possible. In order to successfully launch products, players must develop the necessary infrastructure and features while keeping an eye on external events, which might help or hinder efforts. We created a video tutorial where you can learn more about how the game is played.

Celebrating after we beat the game for the first time. Launch ALL the products!

Launching and iterating (literally)

We’ll be bringing Launch & Iterate to university campuses globally over the next few months, so keep an eye out. You can learn more (and review the game if you get a chance to play it!) on our Board Game Geek profile.

Posted by Jessica Safir, University Programs

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Our interns have the opportunity to work on some of Google’s most cutting edge and innovative projects - not only in engineering, but across sales and other business functions, bringing a fresh perspective to the work done at Google. Interested in joining the Google team? Check out our student positions today and apply!

Meet Michelangelo Marchiorello, a Google intern on the SMB Sales team.

Where are you from?
I’m proud to be Italian!

Where and what did you study at University?
I received my bachelors degree in Business Administration at Bocconi University, in Milan. I recently finished my Masters in Management at ESCP Europe, a business school that gave me the opportunity to study each year in a different country and in a different language. I think that having a strong international profile is key nowadays.

What inspired you to apply for this internship, and what made Google appealing to you as a potential intern?
I’ve always been interested in working at Google. The company philosophy is what distinguished itself from the other players - placing customers and employees at the top of the company's priorities before investors and financial return.

What type of internship have you done? Give a brief description.
I interned for 6 months in the Italian Small and Medium Businesses (SMB) Sales team, at the Google Dublin headquarters for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). During that time, I worked with many Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) in my home country. As an intern I had the opportunity to get involved in projects that had a direct impact on the business, on customers and on fellow colleagues!

My first Noogler selfie!

What did your workday look like?
Every workday looked different. On quiet days, I had the opportunity to work on my projects in a very chilled out way; on busy days, I couldn’t even find the time to read through all of my emails.

8:30 AM ‒ The day starts. I would meet with some of my fellow Nooglers (other Interns or Googlers who have recently joined Google) for breakfast.

9:00 AM ‒ After a quick catch up, I would be sitting at my desk. That said, at Google there is no need to be at your desk all the time.

50 : 50 ‒ I would spend 50% of my time on Team Support activities and 50% on my projects.

What’s something you’ve accomplished during your internship that you’re most proud of? Or something you’re looking forward to working on?
My main project: “QBR@Scale,” is something I am very proud of. The project was a huge overall success, as it enabled a more strategic pitch for the sales representatives. I created more than 200 presentations with in-depth analysis on the past performance for many of our biggest clients. It didn’t just impact the Italian sales team, but throughout the whole of Europe, the Middle East and Africa!

At Google you have an opportunity to collaborate with people from many different backgrounds. What moment stood out to you, where diversity in the team made for better and more innovative work?
At the Google Dublin office there are more than 60 languages spoken and you can feel the international vibe all around you. The level of diversity found at Google is outstanding!

One recent moment that stood out to me was the amazing work done by the Brand Club. Every couple of weeks the Brand representatives from Europe, the Middle East and Africa meet up to discuss recent efforts on growing brand equity. It was through the diversity of the team that enabled our group to share different perspectives and points of views, tell our success stories, best practices etc.. And since the group is so diverse, in terms of needs and past experiences, everyone learned a multitude of new and better ways to do their jobs!

At Google, we say: “when you don’t find anything new to learn, it’s time to change your job”.

We all know Googler’s and interns love the food and the other perks. Outside of some of the well-known perks, what’s your favorite part about working at Google?
The best Google perk is being part of a group of pioneers (well ahead of early adopters) who are shaping the future of the Tech and Digital world.

We are entitled to try out the latest beta, work-in-progress software and hardware, and get to know all the latest internal and external news before anyone else. This is SO EXCITING! The apps on my phone ... my Gmail, my Google Maps, Project Cardboard ... everything gets updated on a daily basis and every update brings something new to test and give feedback on.

What does “being Googley” mean to you?
Being Googley means being available to help others, despite your schedule or level of knowledge. Being Googley means always being curious about new things and being open to learn. Being Googley means thriving in an ambiguous environment where creativity is the only compass available.

Enjoying the Dublin sun from the 11th floor terrace

What do you like most about your Google office and its locations?
Having been lucky to work in the European HQ, I really had the chance to fall in love with the facilities. Everything is designed to be functional to the employees happiness, creativity and teamwork.

Outside of being a Google intern, what are some fun things you do outside the classroom/office throughout the year?
First of all, I am a travel addict. Since working at Google, I’ve had the chance to travel to Ibiza, Milan, Istanbul, Amsterdam and Berlin.

Beyond traveling, I love almost any water sport, from sailing to kite-surfing. At Google there are groups for almost all sports and a multitude of hobbies and interests. Despite the temperature, there are always those willing to take on the cold Irish waters.

What will you do after your internship?
After my internship I’ve taken some time off to travel for a few days to Milan, Kenya and London. Can’t wait to re-charge my cultural curiosity!

In mid-January, I’m excited to come back to Google. This time, as a full-time Google employee. Yayyyyyyy!

What are your top 2 tips to potential student applicants?
Firstly, engage on as many extracurricular projects and activities as you can. These are the parts of your CV that are going to make a difference - your grades, not so much!

Secondly, don’t be scared of the interview process. If you are "a good fit" for this organization, any interview that you’ll have will turn into an engaging conversation about your life. It’s also your first opportunity to show how willing you are to learn from other people, even when under pressure. So, don’t waste the opportunity!


Interested to join the Google team? Check out our student positions today and apply!

Posted by Nicole Zwaaneveld, University Programs Team

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While most college students were preparing for finals and eagerly awaiting winter break, 89 students from 10 universities on the East Coast spent the weekend at Google NYC’s Hack4Humanity. Over two sleep-deprived and caffeine-fueled days, these students used their computer science skills to build technologies for social good.


The hackathon opened with several inspirational talks from experts in the humanitarian world, including speakers from UNICEF, the UN Foundation and Christopher Reeve, a journalist working in conflict zones, including Egypt and Gaza. As the hackathon kicked off, members of the Google Ideas team spoke about several major humanitarian challenges facing the world today: online repression and censorship, gender-based violence, and risks facing vulnerable populations. Google Ideas is a team that uses technology to help people confront threats in the face of conflict, instability and repression. These topics informed the project tracks for the event.

After the formal kickoff, Google Ideas engineer Baris Yuksel led the groups in a brainstorming session where they scoped out potential projects. Once projects were drafted, students were set to work on their first major block of coding (with a break for midnight pizza, of course). Students worked with more than 25 Google engineer mentors throughout the event and had “brain breaks” for massages, cookies, gourmet coffee tasting and, of course, Taylor Swift dance parties.


On Sunday, students demonstrated their projects in front of our six judges (three Google Ideas judges and three UN judges). After many amazing demos, our judges deliberated and chose our top three prize winners. Awarded third place were the “Inverse Pandas” from Harvard University, who presented Fire, their SMS-based emergency contact app. In second place were “The Powershell Girls” from New York University, with their app HIDR, an easy to use file encryption tool for traveling with sensitive information, intended for use by journalists and others crossing conflict zone checkpoints. And winning the grand prize were “quickSorta” from Swarthmore University, with Alli, a community-based app for alerting your network if you feel you are in a threatening or uncomfortable situation - intended to help bring male and female students together to minimize sexual threats on college campuses.

Congratulations to all of our Hack4Humanity participants! The entire Google team commends all of our student hackers on their thoughtfulness, hardwork, and dedication to improving the lives of those in need. Google looks forward to continuing our partnership and supporting the next generation of developers doing social good!

Posted by Meggie Smith, Hack4Humanity team

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Google offers a variety of opportunities for PhD students who wish to gain industry experience. Through our Getting to Know a PhD series, we’ll provide a glimpse into some of these opportunities as well as the impactful projects PhD students at Google work on.

Today we’re featuring Neil Houlsby, a former Google European Doctoral Fellowship recipient who interned on the Natural Language Processing research team.

So Neil, tell us about yourself and your PhD topic ...
I took an engineering degree at the University of Cambridge. I stayed on at Cambridge to do a masters in machine learning and cognitive science in the Computational and Biological Learning Lab, supervised by Máté Lengyel, then a PhD in machine learning co-supervised by Zoubin Ghahramani and Máté.

My PhD topic was in statistical machine learning, covering broadly two themes, active learning and matrix modelling. Active learning, or experimental design, involves designing algorithms that automatically choose the best data to collect. This is important when data is scarce or expensive, so minimizing redundancy is essential. One interesting application that I looked at was quantum tomographical experiments. Here, one wishes to characterise a quantum state efficiently; the active learning algorithm adapts the configuration of the experimental apparatus on-the-fly to maximize knowledge about the unknown state. My work on matrices involved designing probabilistic models and scalable algorithms to learn from matrix data, such as online purchasing data, networks, or psychometric questionnaires. One can exploit learned patterns to predict future behaviour, or infer people’s personality traits. I was lucky enough to be involved in a number of other collaborations, and the unifying theme of my PhD was the application Bayesian machine learning and scalable learning algorithms.

Why did you apply for an internship at Google and how supportive was your PhD advisor?
Statistical machine learning is an exciting field because there is much interacting research between theory and applications. In Zoubin’s lab we had a fantastic exposure to the statistical aspects of machine learning. Industrial experience allowed me to work more on large scale applications, but using similar statistical learning techniques that I was working on at Cambridge. My advisor, Zoubin, was extremely encouraging of my internship and other academic visits to gain new experiences in machine learning - provided that I finished my degree on time!

What project was your internship focused on?
I worked on semantic understanding. The goal was to annotate text with its referent entities (anything with a Wikipedia article) e.g. ‘Croft scored a century’ is referring to Croft the cricket player, not the fictional character, and ‘century’ means 100 runs, not a period of time. The algorithm needs to learn how to use context to disambiguate the annotation. Unlike previous approaches, we framed this as an inference problem in a probabilistic model. As well as the modelling aspects, much of the research focussed on how to do learning with a ‘Google scale’ model and perform efficient reasoning over millions of possible entities.

Did you publish at Google during your internship?
Yes, we published the project at the 2014 European Conference on Information Retrieval. This conference is not one that the Cambridge lab usually participated in, so attending and presenting my internship work here was useful to broaden the reach of my research.

How closely connected was the work you did during your internship to your PhD topic?
There was a substantial overlap in the machine learning methods used in my internship work and my PhD (topic modelling, variational Bayes, sampling), but my internship was a stand-alone project that did not overlap directly with my other research. For me, a novel (and fun) part of the internship was working with the Google infrastructure and computing clouds which, naturally, is harder to do outside the company.

What impact has this internship experience had on your PhD?
There were two main impacts. Firstly, I learned from my intern host, Massimiliano Ciaramita, and colleagues at Google a great deal about applied machine learning and more broadly, other topics in computer science. Some techniques I learned were directly applicable during my PhD, others added to my general academic education. Secondly, by broadening my view of machine learning, the internship fuelled my enthusiasm for the field, which motivated me during my PhD and beyond.

Has this internship experience impacted the way you think about your future career?
I always expected that I would pursue a career in computer science and research. I don’t think this has changed. However, the internship revealed the possibility of doing fascinating research in industry. It was only after my internship that I seriously considered a career in industry. Although I sometimes considered very different career paths, from my perspective academic research and research/engineering at Google have many similar challenges and possibilities.

You just recently started your job as a Research Scientist on the Pragmatics team in Zurich - What are you working on now?
I continue working in Natural Language Processing, but I am in a new research team, focussing on pragmatics, discourse and dialogue. Our team consists of a mixture of researchers with backgrounds in linguistics, NLP and machine learning. This is a fun and new research area of for me, I am continuing to use machine learning in much of my work, and am enjoying applying it to this rich and rapidly developing field.

Looking back on your experiences now: Why should a PhD student apply for an internship at Google? Any advice to offer?
When doing research at a particular university you tend to get a single view of your field of interest. It is definitely worth visiting industry and other institutions to broaden your field of view. A Google internship provides a unique research experience: the opportunity to work on some of the hardest problems at the largest possible scales, not to mention the unique environment and culture. Whether you decide to go into industry, or continue in academia, you can learn a great deal during an internship, and have a lot of fun. I would advise applying early in your PhD, as it only gets harder later in your PhD to find the time for an internship. Also, take the opportunity to do something new - apply to work in a different country, or work in a different aspect of your field. A PhD is a unique time when you have the flexibility to explore future possibilities, so take the opportunity while you can.

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Google strives to increase educational opportunities in computer science and is committed to increasing the representation of underrepresented students in the broader field of technology. In order to do so, Google’s Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI) was created to help high potential students prepare for college, build confidence, and be inspired to pursue a career in tech. CSSI is a Google-hosted summer program that invites 90 rising college first-years to participate in a 3-week interactive curriculum and learn a practical introduction to computer science (HTML, CSS, Javascript, App Engine and more). Students partner in small teams to develop web applications, and ultimately present and demo their projects to Googlers who are enthusiastic to see their web apps come to life. Students designed and developed a wide variety of applications, from a strategic puzzle game called Nonograms to TaxiCop, an app which tracks and estimates taxi fares in Ghana.


The curriculum is built and maintained by Google engineers, with the intention of giving these students a head start in computer science concepts before heading off to college. With their new knowledge and skills, students are more confident, prepared for their first year of college, and inclined to graduate with a computer science degree. Randy (17), a past participant from Cambridge said; “Career-wise [CSSI] was incredibly helpful. Even though it’s not technically an internship, it really helps set me up for future opportunities. I've met a lot of really cool people here that I was able to connect with. I learned a lot, and because of this program I want to continue pursuing CS in college. It has impacted me a lot.“


After completing CSSI, many of our participants have expressed an increase in readiness and confidence; Monica (17), a student from our Cambridge class said “I did not have much CS experience except one CS class from high school. Now I feel prepared for my CS classes in college. I feel like I can do projects on my own, which is huge. The program very much strengthened my technical skill set.”

If you’re interested in learning more about CSSI, please visit google.com/students/cssi for more details and stay tuned for more information about the program in January 2015. In the meantime, please fill out this interest form if you'd like to be notified when our application opens.

Cross-posted from the Google for Education blog

Posted by My-Linh Le, University Programs Team

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Our interns have the opportunity to work on some of Google’s most cutting edge and innovative projects - not only in engineering, but across sales and other business functions, bringing a fresh perspective to the work done at Google. To show you just how much of an impact interns make and to highlight their unique experiences, we’re bringing you a special blog series: Google Intern Insights. Make sure to look out for the different interns being featured on the blog throughout the fall!

Where are you from?

I’m from Istanbul, Turkey

Where and what do/did you study at University?
I’m currently doing a double major in Business Administration and Economics at Koc University in Istanbul.

What inspired you to apply for this internship, and what made Google appealing to you as a potential intern?
I've always been a big Google fan! I’ve grown up being amazed by Google and its products. For me, Google is the best place I could ever ask to work. It has its own unique vibe, hence the word “Googleyness”. There couldn’t have been a better place to do my internship, than in Ireland at Google Dublin (EU HQ). I was 100% sure I would learn amazing things, and advance in many ways. All in all, I have to say: I’m blessed to have had this opportunity and cannot wait to come back!!

Noogler ― new Googler ― Orientation, wearing our Noogler hats

What type of internship are you doing?
I did my internship in the SMB (Small and Medium Business) Services Turkey team. My job was to sell AdWords features to eligible customers based on their needs and provide troubleshooting for any of the problems they may potentially experience while using AdWords.

It’s amazing! To begin with, I love working with AdWords - I think it’s a brilliant tool. And I genuinely like providing special assistance to advertisers from all over Turkey on their digital marketing strategies and showing them the do’s and don’ts of online advertising. So much fun!

What does your workday look like?
During the day we have workflow tables so that we know when we need to be on hand to talk with customers. During this time I would receive calls from customers and provide a variety of support, such as: troubleshooting and account optimization, etc.

What’s something you’ve accomplished during your internship (thus far) that you’re most proud of? Or something you’re looking forward to working on?
On top of my core job, I am most proud of my 50% project, which is to optimize the AdWords Turkey Education Channels, consisting of online platforms such as YouTube, AdWords Forum, Blog, Twitter and the G+ page. This required that I take a deep-dive into the various channels and analyze them based on their customer profile. For the final project outcome, I was able to successfully deliver a new targeting strategy.

Soaking up the Dublin sun

At Google you have an opportunity to collaborate with people from many different backgrounds. What moment stood out to you, where diversity in the team made for better and more innovative work?
I can say without a doubt that my team had people with a wide range of different backgrounds and personalities. I can’t even begin to tell you about the level of diversity at Google!

In my opinion, diversity on the team made for better and more innovative work every step of the way. I can definitely say that the Google atmosphere is created by all the different bits and pieces of these unique people.

It's time for Africa!

We all know Googlers and interns love the food and the other perks. Outside of some of the well-known perks, what’s your favorite part about working at Google?
Besides the amazing perks (e.g. having massage appointments in the middle of the day!) I’d say that my favorite part was how valued I felt. While an intern, there wasn’t a single moment where I felt like “just an intern.” I was alway treated equally and respected by the people I worked with, no matter how senior they were ― which completely amazes me!

Also the level of liberty in this company is unbelievable. The company trusts its employees (‘us’) and does everything possible to remove obstacles that most companies have in place to ensure employee happiness and peace of mind.

What does “being Googley” mean to you?
It always rings a bell of a happy, positive, energetic person who’s in pursuit of doing something bigger and better. Always innovates, tries new things, steps out of boundaries and explores opportunities. Strives to be respectful and helpful to the people around them. Creative and open-minded! Can I go on...?!

What do you like most about your Google office and its locations?
The Google office is just unbelievable. It’s our own little utopia! It’s designed in a way to make employees happy, comfortable and peaceful. I’m so grateful for all the colorful sofas, massages and sleeping rooms!

Nugget, a Google office dog! Who say’s that love at first sight doesn’t exist?

Outside of being a Google intern, what are some fun things you do outside the classroom/office throughout the year?
I’m currently building up my travel blog, where I post movie-like videos created of my trips throughout my university years. Really looking forward to it! Other than that, as obvious as it may seem, I’m a travel addict and I try to hop on the plane as much as I can during the year!

Amazing views of Dublin City

What will you do after your internship?
I’m back to studying for one more year at university, to get my bachelor’s degree. After that, I will try my best to join the Google community once again!

What are your top 2 tips to potential student applicants?
The Google environment, the people, and the Google soul is what makes Google the unique company it is today. Therefore, learn more about Google’s culture and try to find out for yourself, not just whether you are a good fit for the company but also if the company fits you back.

Be open to new challenges and step outside your comfort zone. If you want to stand out, and be different, definitely push your boundaries and test your limits.

Interested to join the Google team? Check out our student positions today and apply!
EEA work authorization is required for roles supporting EEA markets.

Posted by Nicole Zwaaneveld, University Programs Team

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The Google Lime Scholarship was established in 2009 in partnership with Lime Connect, a nonprofit organization that supports students with disabilities working toward their academic and professional goals in all fields, including computer science.

Today we’re featuring Laura D’Aquila, a senior at MIT and 2013 recipient of the Google Lime Scholarship for Students with Disabilities. Laura is studying Computer Science/Electrical Engineering and Math enjoys playing the viola in MIT’s Symphony Orchestra and playing tennis. We recently caught up with Laura to learn more about her experience as a Google Scholar and intern.

Tell us one fun, outlandish fact about yourself.
I recently took up running as a hobby and ran in the Boston Half Marathon this year for the first time. I had a blast!

In what way(s) has the scholarship had an impact on your studies?
Google recognizing me with the scholarship meant a lot to me. It increased my confidence in my ability to be successful in the computer science field, and the awesome experiences I had at the Google Scholar’s Retreat reinforced the notion that software engineering is the career path for me. I left the Google Scholar’s Retreat feeling very motivated to continue to dedicate myself in my studies so that I can ultimately have a positive impact on others through my work.

What tips would you give to someone when it comes to applying for the scholarship?
I think that the most important thing to get across in your application is that you're passionate about computer science and that you both have used it and plan on continuing to use it to have a real, positive impact on the world. Show some specific examples about how you've taken on leadership positions on a team project, research project, summer internship, etc. and how you’ve worked towards building something useful. The reviewers will give the scholarship to students who’ve been putting their computer science education to good use and have tangible plans to continue to do so. As for your letter writers, choose people who know you well and can attest to both your personal qualities and your technical abilities.

Besides the financial benefit, what else did you gain from the scholarship and Scholars' Retreat?
The Google Scholar’s Retreat excited me about the company, and by the end of an awesome few days I knew I wanted to come back to Google as an intern the following summer. The retreat provided me with some of the resources that helped make this possible – from the resume reviews to technical interview trainings to general tips for getting through the hiring process.

Another highlight of the Google Scholar’s Retreat was the opportunity to participate in my first hackathon – 24 Hours of Good, a hackathon to benefit various not-for-profit organizations. It was cool to be working alongside the other scholarship recipients on projects that had the potential to have a large impact on other people’s lives. There were plenty of activities, such as yoga and lots of food, to get us through the night, and I got to know other people better while working with them throughout the night.

You also interned at Google this summer. What was the best part of your internship experience? The most challenging?
I had an amazing internship at Google that exceeded even the high expectations I had for it! I woke up every morning excited to begin the day and come to work. Everyone at Google clearly loves what they do, and the environment is very open and collaborative. It’s neat to be working on the cutting edge projects that Google has to offer that are used by people all over the world.

Google places the happiness of its employees first. There’s a lot of fun things to do when you want a break, and breaks are definitely encouraged in order to maximize your overall productivity throughout the day. And you’ll certainly never go hungry working at Google with three delicious meals per day plus snacks!

The most challenging part of working at Google for me was trying to stand out among many other highly intelligent and creative individuals. Google may not be the place to work at if you want to be the best one there. But I ended up loving Google’s environment since it pushed my boundaries and helped me grow. I learned so much being surrounded by some the brightest people in the world, and other Googlers were always willing to impart their knowledge on me.

Do you have any advice for students who are just getting started in computer science?
Follow your dreams and don’t be intimidated! There are a lot of large-scale problems in the world that still need to be solved, and as a computer scientist you’ll have the tools at your disposal to truly have an impact. Always ask yourself if things can be done better, and before you know it you’ll be working towards making that happen.


If you’re interested in learning more about the Google Lime Scholarship and other scholarship opportunities, check them out on our Google for Education page.


Posted by Sarah Safir, Student Development Programs