GooglePlex is a play on the word googolplex, and is commonly used as the name of the building in which houses Google's main offices in Mountain View, California.

A history of Google's offices

The first Google office was actually located in the garage of one of the early employees in Palo Alto, California. Before too long, the company rented real office space in downtown Palo Alto, on University Avenue (so named for its proximity to Stanford University.

Throughout its entire history, Google has been hiring new employees. As a result, the company has run out of office space fairly often. The first time this happened, in the summer of 1999, the company headquarters moved nearby to Mountain View. Most employees still refer to this building as the 'plex, although since most of them have also moved to the new campus down the road (which used to belong to SGI) it's only a matter of time before the usage changes.

The second Google office was opened in late 2000, in New York. Originally, this office was just a satellite sales office, but as of April 2003, now houses some engineers as well. (Google has also moved its offices in New York; the first one was near Rockefeller Center, but the current building is located in the south area of Times Square.

As Google expanded in Mountain View, more office space was required. Prior to the movement to the old SGI buildings in late 2003, Google expanded to 3 additional buildings nearer to the 'plex. As this happened, a contest was held to name the buildings, since calling them according to the street they were on no longer worked. (There were two buildings on Salado; which one was the SaladoPlex?) Some people suggested using HTTP response codes to number the buildings; others suggested various names involving the -plex suffix, but the proposal that won out was to number the buildings as follows:

  • 0 - The first building moved into. So named because any computer scientist worth his salt starts counting at 0.
  • 1 - The second building, next door to the building formerly known as the GooglePlex. Often called the MoneyPlex, although the finance group moved out almost as soon as they moved in.
  • e - The third building, also known as the SaladoPlex after its location.
  • π - Also known as Salado 2, which was widely recognized to be a horrible name, hence the contest.

Astute readers might notice that all of the numbers selected show up in a rather interesting equation: eπi+1=0. Of course, i hadn't yet been used to name a building, but that was okay: Googlers just started using it to refer to the mythical new headquarters that management said was going to come any day now. Since this "any day now" lasted for at least a year or two, it seemed like referring to it with an imaginary number made sense.

The SGI buildings are numbered from 40 to 43. The first one Google moved into was building 42. Unfortunately, this wasn't a reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; SGI had numbered the buildings already.

Other offices

There are Google offices in Mountain View, New York, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Seattle, Sydney, Toronto, Paris, Hamburg, Dublin, Milano, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Madrid, London, Zurich, and Bangalore. Engineering offices are located in Mountain View, New York, Santa Monica, Zurich, and Bangalore; the rest of the offices are sales offices.