Behind the scenes of Google’s new Paris office

In Paris, this time of year marks “la rentrée” – the national return to class for students all over France. The most direct translation in English is “back-to-school,” but whether you’re a student or not, “la rentrée” carries a spirit starting fresh and anew.

For Googlers in Paris, this “rentrée” marks the opening of a new building – hosting all existing engineering teams and a few new ones. The new building features a view of the Parisian skyline and eight floors of workspace for the 200 engineers (and growing!) who work there.

The view from the 8th floor roof terrace – on a sunny day, you can see the Eiffel Tower!
One of the things Paris is known for is great café (coffee). 

As Googlers unpack their boxes and find their teammates, let’s take a moment to go behind the scenes and learn about what they do:

Art Selfie
Art Selfie matches from around the world.

Did you already find your classical painting lookalike? Last December, the Google Arts and Culture team launched “Art Selfie” – the feature, based on computer vision algorithms developed at Google, allows users to find their counterpart in the enormous corpus of world’s heritage of art, and in doing so took the Internet by storm. The popular app is developed in Paris and London by  a team whose mission is to make the world’s art universally accessible. This is done by working in collaboration with museums and cultural organizations throughout the planet.

YouTube Search & Discovery
Ever think about those suggested videos you see on YouTube? The YouTube team in Paris applies the power of machine learning to the incredible amount of videos on YouTube. Their work allows the service to automatically understand what each video is about and thanks to that, help users find videos they are interested in.

One of the new microkitchen (MK) workspaces.

Chrome on your phone

In today’s world, you need to be able to search fast no matter what type of device you are using. In Paris, there are teams working on Chrome for both Android and iOS. Their achievements include a redesigned user experience (UX) for Chrome on iOS (which launched earlier this month), and significant improvements in browsing speed for Chrome on Android.

Bringing the outside, inside at the new Paris office.

Operations Research

If you want to know who the true behind the scenes heroes are, meet our Operations Research team. They help hundreds of projects run more efficiently. From planning the routes of Street View cars to optimizing the layout of Google data centers, these folks do it all.

Paris Googlers hard at work in the new office.

New frontiers

While most Google engineers work on existing operating systems like Linux, one of the teams in Paris is an exception to that rule – working on a new open-source operating system called Fuchsia. Fuchsia engineers in Paris focus on how the system stores and synchronizes data. The building also hosts a new Google AI team. This team works on fundamental Machine Learning research and advanced applications of artificial intelligence to the problems of today.

And there’s more!

2018 HashCode participants.

Besides their day jobs, engineers from across the office work on a variety of programs designed to collaborate and engage with the computer science community in Europe – from university outreach to promoting computer science education. Hash Code (Google’s popular coding competition where participants solve real-life Google engineering problems) was created at Google Paris! From small beginnings in 2014 (150 participants from Parisian universities) the competition grew to over 38,000 developers last year across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Paris is also where Google Cardboard was invented. This virtual reality headset lowered the barrier to experiment with budding VR technology for developers across the world.

From speeding up mobile browsing to the digitization of art, it is an exciting time at the Google France engineering center. We’re wishing all of our Google Students readers a “bonne rentrée,” whether you’re heading back to university or are simply inspired to continue learning and growing. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the work we’re doing in Paris. If you’re excited about these projects, we hope that you’ll consider joining us when you start looking for your next internship or full-time job.