An inside look at a typical day in tech wonderland (pictures)
The CNET News team captures a close-up look at the tech industry throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. From Pinterest's lunch bell and YouTube's slides to Google's buses and Facebook's music room, this is our world.
A new day in the city by the bay
From Google buses leaving San Francisco in the early morning hours to the deserted streets outside Twitter headquarters at twilight, we set out to show how the people who live and breathe tech start and end each day. Take a look inside a typical day in tech wonderland.
5/23/14 - 8:38 a.m. -- Along Eighth Street in San Francisco's South of Market area, Google employees board one of the many buses that shuttle workers from the city 45 minutes south to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
The shuttle buses that ferry employees of Google, Apple, Facebook, and other companies have attracted a lot of attention in the past year. The buses have drawn the ire of some who blame the tech companies for driving up the real estate prices in neighborhoods serviced by the private bus systems.
4/28/14 - 8:45 a.m. -- While the buses are bringing workers from the city to sprawling tech campuses further south, trains bring others north.
It's Monday morning in San Francisco, and train commuters from Silicon Valley disembark at the Fourth and King Street Caltrain station.
As the region recovered from the tough economic environment
of 2009 and 2010, Caltrain ridership growth appeared to be associated with job growth.
Now, ridership is climbing again. In 2013, Caltrain said it set records with an average weekday ridership of 47,000.
4/29/14 - 10:12 a.m. -- At Fitbit's new headquarters, located along Howard Street in the South of Market district in San Francisco, guests are greeted by the company logo glowing against a wooden backdrop.
5/8/14 - 10:50 a.m. -- Entrepreneurs work on a secret project as part of the new Samsung Accelerator in Palo Alto, Calif. The men work for a company backed by Samsung and whose name Samsung is keeping secret -- for now. Pictured from left are Russell Taylor, vice president of engineering; Adam Karolick, a developer; and Morten Torkildsen, director of technology.
5/20/14 - 10:58 a.m. -- Greg Tseng steps into a private black car ordered through the Uber mobile app. Tseng, the CEO of social-media company Tagged, uses the on-demand car service just about every day, racking up over 2,000 rides and going more than 9,000 miles as an Uber customer. Tseng said he uses the time in the car to do things like check email or meditate.
5/20/14 - 11:15 a.m. -- A row of Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf electric cars sit charging at Google's main campus in Mountain View, Calif., on a Thursday afternoon. Notably, there is not a single Tesla Model S in sight at the charging stations, though many pepper Google's campus.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk recounted, onstage at the World Energy Forum in May 2013, that Google CEO Larry Page told him Tesla drivers never bothered charging their cars at work. The Teslas, with driving ranges of 260 miles, lasted all day.
5/12/14 - 11:18 a.m. -- The YouTube offices in San Bruno, Calif., still hold some of that Web 2.0 glitz. Employees like Lauren Cheng, a senior product specialist, and Matt McLernon, communications manager, can zip to the floor below on the video giant's big red slide instead of suffering the banality of commuting in-building by stairs or elevator.
5/5/14 - 11:38 a.m. -- This pit of cranes, seen from the roof of CNET's headquarters in the South of Market area of San Francisco, will transform by 2018 into the new Transbay Terminal for regional buses, local public transportation, and the California bullet train, all to be topped off by a 61-story skyscraper occupied by Salesforce.com.
5/5/14 - 11:39 a.m. -- Looking east from the roof of CNET's headquarters, the high-end residential Infinity Towers block a pretty view of the Bay Bridge. They'll soon be flanked by other skyscrapers, all part of the city's tech-driven construction boom.
4/28/14 - 11:43 a.m. -- Pinterest designer Matt Brown rings the lunch bell outside the company's eating area. Pinterest encourages everyone to stop what they're doing when the bell rings and eat their meal together. The eating space, a central and open area in the social-media site's San Francisco headquarters, is also used for company meetings and hackathons.
4/25/14 - 11:47 a.m. -- It's lunchtime in one of the two Facebook cafeterias. Named the Epic Cafe, this eating area is modeled after the Ace Hotel, a trendy accommodation in New York. The walls of the cafeteria are lined with hand-torn pages from engineering books and recipe books. Boards placed near the counters let visitors leave compliments for the kitchen staff. Facebook serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily at its headquarter in Menlo Park, Calif.
4/28/14 - 11:53 a.m. -- On the lunch room wall at Pinterest's headquarters in San Francisco is a giant board made up of user images. The images were compiled during a company-wide hackathon in which employees were encouraged to "hack the space." The printed photos were placed by hand on foam core. It's held together by Velcro, magnets, and toothpicks.
5/14/14 - 12:02 p.m. -- Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang plays his Shield gaming device in his office -- a former conference room. Huang used to sit at a desk in a hallway near new hires but moved into a large conference room to "help employee retention," as he jokingly put it.
5/9/14 - 12:10 p.m. -- Head chef at Dropbox, Brian Mattingly, in the black chef's jacket, supervises as the lunch rush is in full swing in the kitchen at the cloud storage company's headquarters in San Francisco's China Basin.
4/25/14 - 12:06 p.m. -- Facebook employees Tyler Wood, Sarah Masimore, and Howard Chan play in the company's on-site music room, one of the many perks of working at the social-media site. Employees can bring their own instruments or play ones left in the room. The three developers like to play for fun and this was the first time they've done a session together during work.
4/30/14 - 12:54 p.m. -- Antonia Huang, a private-label production associate for ModCloth, changes a display mannequin at the e-commerce company's headquarters in San Francisco. Huang changes the outfits about once a month and typically uses the mannequins to highlight the site's best-selling items or exclusive items. ModCloth's approach to selling clothing involves crowdsourcing initiatives and often caters to geeky and vintage tastes.
5/14/14 - 1:07 p.m. -- Nvidia engineers head back and forth from lunch at the company's Santa Clara, Calif., headquarters. Nvidia has plans to build new offices across the street from its current headquarters, but hasn't set a particular time for construction.
5/16/14 --1:21 p.m. -- Many people are turning their heads at the construction bonanza in San Francisco's South of Market district. Here, the 222 Second St. site soon will host a 26-story tower, fully occupied by LinkedIn's sales and marketing teams, with 8,700 square feet of public open space. No word on whether that includes a rooftop beer garden.
5/21/14 - 1:45 p.m. -- Mike Bell, head of Intel's new devices group, shows off the company's prototype wireless charging bowl near the old office of Intel co-founder Gordon Moore at Intel's headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif. One of Intel's chip customers will be making a real version of the charging bowl this year.
4/25/14 - 1:50 p.m. -- A view from an outdoor bridge that connects two Facebook buildings. The company built the campus to make it seem like a small town, much like the city of Palo Alto, Calif., where the company used to have its headquarters.
The idea was certainly realized. Several shops dot Facebook's main walkway, including places to get food, a haircut, or have your bike fixed.
The miniature house (pictured on the right) is a play on "The Wizard of Oz." When the company first opened a Philz, a popular San Francisco coffee shop, on campus it was so popular that employees wore down the grass walking to it. In a whimsical move, Facebook put in a "road," painted it yellow, and added a tiny house with a pair of fake witch legs sticking out.
4/30/14 -- 1:52 p.m. -- A week after he got his pair of Google Glass, Julien Boubel returns to the Google Glass Basecamp for a tune-up. Located at Google's San Francisco office along the Embarcadero, Boubel double-checks his Glass in a very un-Googley way: he's wearing them over his regular glasses.
5/8/14 - 1:54 p.m. -- Parrot CEO Henri Seydoux demonstrates the newly announced Parrot Bebop Drone, operating in conjunction with an Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset, inside the Old Mint in San Francisco.
5/15/14 - 1:59 p.m. -- From Leap Motion's office in San Francisco's South of Market area, CEO Michael Buckwald demonstrates a diagnostic visualizer, part of the second version of the company's tracking software now in public beta.
5/20/14 - 2:07 p.m. -- Paul Montoy-Wilson and Mark Daiss, co-founders of Aviate, the next-gen search service Yahoo bought in January, stand in front of a white board at Yahoo headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif.
4/15/14 - 3:01 p.m. -- An AmazonFresh truck sits on the corner of Sutter and Jones streets in San Francisco. The service, run by the Seattle-based e-commerce giant, delivers fresh produce and other items to customers. Amazon is testing the service -- which requires a $299 Amazon Prime Fresh membership -- in the Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco areas, but it's expected to roll out to more cities this year. A regular Amazon Prime membership costs $99.
5/16/14 - 3:13 p.m. -- CNET's Daniel Terdiman, Engadget's Emily Price, and Organe's Ken Yeung take to the streets in a battle-race against Boris Sofman, CEO of Anki, a robotics and artificial-intelligence startup on Second Street in San Francisco.
5/12/14 - 3:24 p.m. -- Google employees make use of the company's bike share program on a warm afternoon at its Mountain View, Calif. headquarter. Jokingly referred to as Google's clown bikes, the colorful fleet -- in the red, green, yellow, and blue shades of Google's logo -- contains roughly 1,300 rides, 700 or so of which are deployed on any given day to enable employees to cruise around from meeting to meeting.
Introduced in 2009, after a two-year pilot program featuring a small fleet of Huffy-made bikes, the bike share's now iconic models can be found strewn across its 2 million square feet of property. Despite Google's indexing mission, there is no tech built into a standard campus cruiser beyond a bell, blinking lights for sundown riding, and a basket up front. That means Google has nothing to remotely lock or track the bikes, and a few can be found riding around Mountain View -- or even on eBay.
5/7/14 - 3:40 p.m. -- At CNET, Artec Group 3D technician Bill Stahl gives staff writer Donna Tam a demo on the art of 3D modeling the human body by using a Kinect motion camera and software. Stahl can then use the scan to print a miniature 3D model.
5/9/14 - 3:45 p.m. -- Mozilla's Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker balances on a rail next to the company's new sign, which is etched with the names of Mozilla community members. Situated in the old Hills Bros. Coffee building at the foot of the Bay Bridge, Mozilla's San Francisco office stakes out a prominent position for one of the few nonprofit major tech firms.
5/12/14 - 3:51 p.m. -- Google's famous Building 44 lawn on a sunny afternoon at its Mountain View, Calif. headquarters. The collection is a tribute to its mobile operating system, Android. Featuring the iconic Android logo alongside structures dedicated to each iteration of its OS -- from Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich to Honeycomb and the latest Kit Kat -- the outdoor display is the one aspect of Google's typically closed-campus policy that is open to visitors. On any given day, tourists can be seen posing in front of the statues and snapping shots.
5/20/14 - 3:58 p.m. -- Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr and Hunch, at the offices of her next project, Findery, a local exploration service, in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. Fake sits on a coffee table she bought on eBay about 10 years -- supposedly once owned by mobster Bugsy Siegel.
5/24/14 - 3:59 p.m. -- It's a beautiful day for a walk on the Stanford campus, where a group of Chinese tourists with Golden International Travel is getting a guided tour of the Silicon Valley university on Memorial Day weekend.
4/24/14 - 4:04 p.m. -- Meeting up with Andy Geisse, CEO of AT&T Business Solutions, at the carrier's facility in Palo Alto, Calif. The AT&T Foundry invites startups, partners, VCs, and others to brainstorm and work on new technologies and companies.
5/23/14 - 4:36 p.m. -- An Apple store employee advises customers on a potential iPhone purchase at the 1 Stockton St. location near the intersection of Market and Fourth streets in downtown San Francisco.
4/25/14 - 5:25 p.m. -- Cars, commuting...and vanity, all part of the day in the Bay Area. From a Mini to a Masserati and an all-electric Tesla cruising through San Francisco on the Friday afternoon commute home, these vanity plates paint a picture of life in the tech world -- a little bit of luck, a little science, and a bent toward innovation.
5/12/14 - 6 p.m. -- Daniel Kottke, early Apple employee and Steve Jobs' college roommate, says he likes to attend the tech sessions at PARC (Xerox's innovation lab) to "stay in touch with what's going on." The May 2014 session was all about printed electronics.
6/10/14 - 7:10 p.m. -- At a party at Airware's office in the South of Market area, Brian Richman, lead customer support engineer at the commercial drone startup, poses in front of a Tempest drone made by UASUSA.
5/13/14 - 7:37 p.m. -- Share Conference attendees McKenzie Erickson, Claiborne Deming, and Charlie Ribich -- all complete strangers -- eat dinner at Airbnb's headquarters during a confab about the sharing economy.
4/30/14 - 8:58 p.m. -- The work day is (mostly) done, and in downtown San Francisco, it's time for a ball game. At Second and King streets, just blocks from CNET and dozens of bustling offices, is AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. Here, they match up against the San Diego Padres.
4/28/14 - 9:06 p.m. -- Lars Dalgaard, former CEO of SuccessFactors and now a venture capitalist at Andreessen Horowitz, snaps a selfie with Marc Andreessen and SAP CEO Bill McDermott at a dinner in Palo Alto, Calif.
5/4/14 - 12:01 a.m. -- Twitter's headquarters at midnight lack most of the hustle that they see during the day, but not all. Muni's 24-hour lines still rumble past the building at 10th and Market streets that city politicians hope will anchor the revitalization of the perpetually troubled mid-Market corridor.
Goodnight startups, goodnight millionaires, and goodnight techies everywhere.