Google Inc. opens doors to showcase Franklin Street office

Apr. 17, 2014 @ 08:50 PM


A peek into Google Inc.’s downtown Chapel Hill offices on Thursday revealed employees sitting or standing in front of two and sometimes three computer screens, and white boards on the walls for drawing or writing.

“We’re big fans of scribbling everywhere,” said Mike Reed, who is the technology and site lead for California-based Google’s office on West Franklin Street. He led a tour through the company’s new third-floor office space on Thursday as part of an open house that drew town, regional and university leaders.

Google moved its office from Southern Village to Franklin Street to accommodate its larger size. The company employs 25 people, Reed said, and may grow larger.

While the work the office does is a “pretty narrow field,” he said the company is always recruiting.

“We are interviewing and hoping to grow more,” he said. “We’re always looking for hotshots.”

Reed said the office has grown as the work the employees do has “continued to be important to Google.”

The office does technology code that’s used to produce graphics for Android phones and other devices as well as for the Google Chrome browser.

The company started as a business called Skia that at one time had two employees, Reed said. By the time Google’s acquired it, he said it had grown to four. He said they quickly outgrew their original Franklin Street space and moved to Southern Village.

The company was drawn back to Franklin for the amenities of the town’s main drag, and also to be closer to resources at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“I think the … appeal to employees is both the space, which is quite nice, but also the surrounding area,” he said. “It’s kind of a fun place to be located.”

Thursday’s tour showed employees working at computers in an open-office format. There were small rooms outfitted with video conferencing equipment that Reed said is used to communicate with Google workers in California and elsewhere.