This isn't a criticism or negativity, all things considered it seems to be a great company to work for; it just seems to be a bit more homogenized than it used to be.
Let me tell you a story from my recent experience.
My neck hurts from time to time, and as part of stopping that, I decided that one thing I needed to do was to not sit at my desk anymore. Fortunately, I already had a standing desk at work, so it was just a matter of using it. When I got it, I thought the best plan would be to gradually ramp up; 30 minutes today, 40 minutes tomorrow, until I was standing the entire day. That never happened and I think I maybe stood for an hour a day, basically bailing out as soon as my legs felt even the slightest bit uncomfortable. Last week, I decided that that was not going to work, and I mentioned this to some people that sit (well, stand) near me. They agreed to shoot me with Nerf guns if I sat down. I did, and they did, so I stopped sitting down. Now I can stand the entire day. What really did it was watching others around me stand for the entire day; if they could do this for months, why couldn't I? That's what really motivated me to endure the annoyance in getting used to something new.
So what does this have to do with Google? It boils down to: coworkers that care, coworkers that are "different", and the willingness to make expensive non-essential office furniture universally accessible and useful.
Ultimately, there are a lot of great reasons to work at Google, and HN comments can only give you a small snapshot at a time.
1) his manager (my manager) spent the next two days with a translator contacting his family back in Iran to explain what happened
2) paid a huge amount of money to have him rehabbed. He had brain damage. They did a great job- he had access to awesome rehab people and regained a ton of brain function.
3) worked hard to get his work visa extended while he was out of work.
I use bullet points because they are a succinct way to list several orthogonal items. Please don't take my data and generalize to all of Google. All I can say is that this company is pretty incredible, and much of what get published about it isn't very accurate.
Couldn't agree more. Partially-truthful stories titled "Google used to be a great place to work but isn't anymore," seem to make a lot of HN commenters very happy. I'm not sure why.
Anyway, back to complaining about how I don't like the new pour-over coffees that the baristas upstairs make. Replacing Intelligentsia with Stumptown? How dare they! What a terrible place to work! :)