By Rob McGibbon
The sense of prosperity is overwhelming when you arrive at the cavernous, glass and limestone reception of the "serviced" offices in London’s Victoria that house Google’s UK and Europe operations.
Google has two floors here, the fourth and fifth, totalling 50,000 sq ft.
If you needed any proof this company is doing OK, look on the fourth floor: just beyond the chillout zone and massage chair, there’s a vast unclaimed office, fully stocked and awaiting new Googlers.
And the company may soon take an option on the third floor, too.
Dream on, newspaper people.
The main office is on the fifth floor, an open-plan expanse that generates a sense of almost transcendental peace. Bright coloured furniture, pilates balls and lava lamps all add to an easy atmosphere.
It is almost "other worldly" when you consider this set-up to other giant corporates, which is indeed what Google has become.
There’s a restaurant on one wing — free breakfast, lunch and limitless snacks for all. The search-engine company keeps its staff happy.
Nikesh Arora is Google’s vice president in Europe. Born in Delhi, he left for America when he was 21 with two suitcases and a $3,000 loan from his father. He studied business in New England and later rose through the ranks in finance and telecoms before the Google founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, poached him from T-Mobile in 2004.
Married with a young daughter, Arora lives in Chelsea, walks to work, loves his cricket and plays golf, badly, at his club, Wentworth.
Only 38, he exudes a sense of mild-mannered assurance, but is clearly highly focused and switched on. His passion for all things Google and the internet come at you at broadband speed.
Read the full interview in this week’s Press Gazette.