Around 2000 or so, Google was shopping itself around for potential buyers. I worked at one of the search companies (or more accurately “search” companies since our old version of search was light years away from what search is now) that was a potential acquirer. I was not involved in the talks, but our company turned down the opportunity. As you may be aware, Google failed to get acquired by any company and they’ve been struggling ever since. (!!!)
I’ve been a small part of big and amazing search teams. Such as Yahoo’s in the mid 2000’s when it was competing head to head with Google on relevance, index size, hiring top talent, search market share.
But I’ve never worked at Google.
The funny thing was how many of my friends and family couldn’t remember if I worked at Google or at Yahoo. From the inside it seemed like a huge difference, but to everyone else it was Coke vs Pepsi. Unfortunately for the once-great Yahoo, those days are gone.
I’ve had Google recruiters reach out for various jobs, even though I don’t have a computer science degree or a degree from a prestigious college (UCSC Banana Slug right here!). A couple years ago I spoke to a recruiter about an amazing opportunity, but Search Strategy Solutions was thriving and I didn’t want to leave, even for the chance to interview for that particularly great role.
I know many amazing search people who have never worked for Google. They’ve worked for other blue chip companies like Bing, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo, etc., or smaller endeavors, but never at Google. Some see it as a badge of honor, others are probably bitter about it.