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Photos: Inside Google's UK offices

Google's offices are fabled in the tech industry for their eccentric luxury -- we were lucky enough to get a sneak peek in its London HQ, and we've got the pictures to prove it

Gadgets

Today Crave went along to Google's UK offices in London to have a look at the Google Map application for mobile phones. While we think the application is cool enough, we couldn't help being distracted by Google's digs.

Security at the search engine's lair, near Victoria station, is very tight -- our photo was taken and printed on a badge and we were made to sign a form before we were allowed to do anything else.

Practically every door in the rather spacious offices -- which span, from what we could see, three floors -- is sealed by an electronic tag system. According to other journalists who had visited before, not everyone working at the office can access every door.

The reception is, as expected, a shrine to Google's achievements and its logo. The Google logo is absolutely everywhere and so are the colours that make up the logo. There are blue, green, red and yellow objects dotted everywhere you look.

There's also a projector in the reception area that beams Google Maps on to a blank wall and zooms in on all the capital cities across the world. It's really quite impressive, but it did leave us pondering whether or not Google was plotting world domination.

Other noteworthy features of the reception were the Google-branded bikes, which you can apparently buy, and a case that housed all of Google UK's prizes. As you can imagine, there were many trophies -- and why not, it is after all the largest search engine in the world.

What's interesting, however, about this larger than life company that preaches the organisation of data on the Internet, is that while we walked around its offices, there was a sense that Google does actually care about people.

There were signs up asking employees to ride to work because it's more environmentally friendly, Google-themed recycling bins dotted around the place and breakout areas where employees sat and chatted in a very relaxed manner.

Whether or not this is representative of the global company, it is good to see that Google UK isn't a purely commercial machine. Indeed, the presentation about Google UK's mobile map application was very convincing and rather humble, considering what a feat it is.

So having survived a visit to its abode, do we have any insight into whether Google is evil? Well, it's probably not evil, per se -- but it definitely has an unhealthy obsession with blue, green, red and yellow stuff. -Andrew Lim

The reception features a variety of strangely shaped chairs, Google-branded bikes and other Google paraphernalia.

Is it a chair? Is it a table? You decide.

Fancy a ride on a Google bike? Google had signs up in reception that asked employees to ride to work, because it's healthier and better for the environment.

The projector beamed images from Google Maps.

A Google server is left on a table. Twenty years ago, who could have known that a little yellow box would hold so much information?

A painter's mistake? Droppings from the Google monster? Or is this modern art?

Another room, another Google colour explosion.

Google-themed recycling bins. These containers hold aluminium cans, paper cups, glass and plastic.

The Umpa Lumpas demanded that their front doors be painted different colours.

Framed Google logo artwork. Google regularly replaces its logo with a themed variant for festivities, important days and competitions.

Fully stocked. The Google reception had a variety of drinks on offer, but no Google-ade or Google cola.

More Google artwork, but this time made up of competition entries by schoolchildren, based on various different UK-centric themes.

It's a winner. Google's trophy cabinet is a testament to how popular the search engine has become.

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