Lalit Katragadda – map maker
"I'm a software engineer at Google in Bangalore, the technical lead for the team that I'm on right now. I've been [here] for the last six years in various roles as at Google you're not really restricted. Google MapMaker was launched about a month ago and since in 58 countries. We're creating high-quality map data for parts of the world where local maps and information is missing.
"[Google's] mission is to organize the world's information and if people don't have rich local information we don't have much to organise! That's the problem we're solving. Three years ago we talked to the founders, they liked the idea and we built the technology for it. It's like a startup environment where you build a prototype and if everybody likes it we use it internally.
"The object is to capture deep and broad information that's also fresh. The only way you can do this is by involving people, but you also need technology for high quality geodata. Is it just for countries with poor map data? That's not true. We want to focus on places like Africa. We've just launched maps of Kenya.
But for the UK, US and so on, there's a need for fresh local content. What's there currently is mostly like a phone directory. If I search for a pub in London, I'm also interested in what the events on are, as well as the menu. That's the other dimension of MapMaker."
Jason Harper – office Googlifier
"I'm based in Hamburg, though I've been responsible for several different locations. What makes [my role] very different is that we've had so much growth over the years that we have to be very creative in the use of space.
"There's always something going on, always something that needs to be changed or modified. We have a lot to do with design. I call myself the 'design police' in the German offices! We have to make sure that when you walk through the door that you recognize two things. Firstly that you recognize you're in a Google office, and secondly, that you recognise you're in a Google office in Zurich or wherever it may be.
"One thing we've learned is that teamwork works well, and people need to sit together. We always have open offices so there's a lot of communication. We also try and counterbalance with comfortable and cosy breakout spaces. The pictures are true! There might be somewhere you can have a massage or play [table football].
"By providing comfortable spaces, people can go back [refreshed] to the open office spaces. As far as the local aspects go, in Munich the reception desk is made out of faux-leather leiderhosen and in Hamburg we've got photos of container ships and we use faux containers as projection screens. It starts off as a wacky idea!
"One of the things I'm most proud of is having proved that things really do work. I'm actually American, but I didn't come from Google US – I'm married to a German. I came from the design and construction side of things. I stumbled across the ad and it's one of those things where you think, "that can't possibly be true" but the next thing you know, there you are. I'll have been here five years in October."