I went for London Girl Geek Dinner’s 3rd anniversary party last night. It was held at Google, which is really as fun an environment to be in as people say it is. It was my first time in a Google office and I loved the colours everywhere. Sort of like a preschool classroom really, but a much bigger version of it! I also realised that rumours of them having a screen at reception with constantly-scrolling random search strings on Google, entered by people all over the world, were actually true.
The food was superb, and, satisfying my expectations of a company that comes up with customised logos for special occasions even on its search engine page, they had customised note pads for the Girl Geeks! But even more interesting were the talks. A Google employee spoke about the future of technology, and used her work on YouTube’s mobile application as an example. I didn’t even know that (to compete with the iPhone I guess), YouTube has a mobile application which has been specially made for ease of viewing on Nokia or Sony Ericsson mobile phones. It’s really data intensive though, so just a warning. I think its cool for people who want to take a video when they are out somewhere, because they can then immediately upload it to YouTube even if they aren’t at a computer.
The other talk was by Drew Buddie, a high school teacher, and he spoke about how technology is changing the world of teaching (and also how most schools are absolutely clueless about it today!). He gave examples of using Google Docs for a group of students to work on a project together simultaneously, and also mentioned Moodle, which is a site where simple projects, questions or cases are given to students for them to work on online. Some other sites of use to teachers (or even parents, I would assume) that he mentioned, are MirandaNet and CogDogBlog. Take a look.
Finally, there was a panel discussion on work-life balance by Alx Klive, the CEO of WorldTV.com, Celia Francis, CEO of WeeWorld (a virtual social network for teens, like Facebook-meets-Second Life), Maria Ingold, Head of Technology at FilmFlex and a young software engineer from Google (I’m sorry – I forgot her name!!). They provided different and interesting opinions on how working in a flexible, fun environment can really make a difference to employees and their output. One of the funniest bits was Alx Klive mentioning that now that he’s recently had a baby, he chronicles his life’s events as BC and AD (Before Child and After Delivery – ha ha ha!!!).