February 15th, 2008 | Published in Google News
As one of the first engineers assigned to Google News, I'm excited to kick off the inaugural Day in the Life ("DITL") post. Over the next few months, we hope to bring you a unique window into the world of Google News by publishing more DITL posts from other people who work on News. Our team is diverse and passionate, and we hope that we can show that to you in this series of posts. I've worked on Google News for over three years, and have seen a lot of amazing innovations. So enjoy my description of a typical day here for me at Google....
9:30am: Get into work and check my email. At Google we have engineers from all over the world, so I often receive code reviews and/or questions from those working in India or China. I starred them in my email inbox so I'm reminded to get back to them later in the day.
10:00 - 11:00 am: Attend the News team weekly meeting. Our team's product manager sets a unique agenda every week. We normally use this meeting to do project presentations so the team can learn what each engineer is working on. Sometimes we review recently launched features and forecast upcoming launches. This is also where we sync up with our international offices.
11:30am: The Google News Frontend team meets so each team member can provide a status update on their project tasks and reveal any dependencies that might be holding up their progress.
12:00pm: Usually my office-mates Dan and Chris start to initiate lunch. They like to browse the menus of different cafes on campus and usually pick the one with the best dessert. Once a location is decided, we gather the rest of the team to join us.
12:10pm: We've arrived at Off the Grid cafe. After getting our food, we sit, eat, and chat about the future of online journalism and how we can make Google News better.
1:00pm: After lunch, I like to block off an hour to do code reviews. A code review is when someone else other than the author examines the code for correctness and readability. News has many remote engineers so many code reviews come from India or China. I try to complete these by the end of the day, so they do not have to wait another 24 hours to hear a response.
2:00: Attend a meeting with UX (User Experience) designers, our product manager, and other engineers to discuss design specifications for a new feature. We come up with use cases and list out pros and cons of various solutions. In the end, our goal is to build a feature that is useful.
3:13pm: I'm pager-holder for the week and the pager goes off. The pager goes off when something requires immediate attention since News is 24/7 and every minute counts. The team has built numerous useful monitoring tools and status pages which I use to debug the issue.
4:04pm: Our product manager comes into our office to check on the status of a feature release planned for this week. I inform him that all the pre-launch procedures are being followed and we should be on schedule for launch. He leaves with a big smile.
4:30pm: I get some coding time and work on the implementation for the feature launches I'm responsible for.
6:33pm: An engineer from other project drops by my office to ask questions about how to integrate their product into Google News. I share my experience with him from when we did similar integrations with Google Finance and Archive News Search.
7:00pm: I go grab dinner from No Name cafe and eat at my desk.
8:20pm: I finish replying to some emails before getting on the Google shuttle and head home.
9:30pm - 12am: I normally stay online during this time since this is when some international engineers are getting into work. I try to be available to answer questions using gChat. It is also a good time to get some work done before the new day starts.