Posted without additional comment:
After some thought and discussion with some current and former Googlers and those who have gone through the interview process but not worked for Google, I've decided that Google would be unlikely to be a good fit for me.
The reasons for this are many, but include:
- A lack of care and attention to the needs of paying customers. I very recently experienced this for myself when I tried to cancel business services for my domain. The response I would expect and respect would be "we've reverted your domain to the free service so you can delete it". The first response I got was a cut'n'pasted URL to a support article for how to delete your non-paid domain services. The second response I got was that I should wait until the subscription expired (on 29 March 2012) and try to delete it then. This response persisted for a message or two, and was only resolved when I asked for the ticket to be escalated to the next level -- then the person who was originally helping me suddenly decided to see what they could do about my original request. Discussion with other Google Business customers leads me to believe that this sequence of events is quite common.
- Google seems to consider SREs, coders, and other engineering-types to be replaceable cogs in the machine. This is certainly no specific fault of Google's, but rather is a problem endemic to large technical companies in general. I value each person I work with highly, and would be unlikely to succeed in such an unstable environment.
- Current Google policies and procedures for handling issues such as the real-name policy on Google+ have left me wondering what happened to the company that had once been so aware of the issues and transparent back when GMail first launched. I feel that the will of Google to be in touch with the users of its services and actively engaging them in the processes that define their experience with Google has gone into a deep dive in the last few years, and I see no indication that it's a temporary situation. Google has successfully pushed products and services out for successful public alphas and betas to great success. I don't believe that policy is something that should be treated the same way. It leads to a confusing experience for those subject to the policies; additionally, it undermines the trust of those same people.
It's absolutely true that only the second point would directly affect me if I were to work on the engineering team at Google, but the first and third points are also important to me. I am fiercely proud of what I do for a living and who I do it for, regardless of who it may be. I would have considerable trouble just shrugging off such issues with "that's not really my thing, so sorry about your luck". Rather, I would be among the first to be advocating for a better way forward. The experience of people I've talked to who work/have worked for Google is that such advocacy isn't especially welcome, which is a shame.
I won't take any more of your time at this point -- no doubt your focus is hiring engineers, not reading already-too-long missives. Thank you for your consideration, and good luck in your mission!