Google Code-in 2016, a programming contest organized by Google to encourage students of 13 to 17 years olds to get involved in open source development. 1,340 students from 62 countries completed an impressive number of 6,418 tasks. Winners and Finalists were chosen by the 17 selected open source organizations. Drupal was one of the participating organization in Google Code-in 2016 and two of our students “Utkarsh Dixit” and “Dhanat Attawalo” got a chance to attend to Grand Prize Trip organized by Google. I was fortunate to attend the Grand Prize trip as the Guardian of Utkarsh Dixit.
Day 0: Reception
“Shady Computer scientists count from 0” was the most used quote during Code-in trip.
The trip started on the 26th July, there were attendees from almost every part of the world. Some of us had more than 24 hours flight, so we got some rest and gathered at 5:00 PM in the lobby where we got to meet our friendly mentor “Valentin Sanchez” and the other Grand Prize winner for Drupal “Dhannat Attawalo’.
We were greeted by Stephanie Taylor and Josh Simmons. We had a 5 min walk to Google SF office were the welcome ceremony took place.
The event started with the fun game, “the Scavenger Hunt”, for Grand Prize winners. Each student had to find most people with certain characteristics such as “Can paint”, “Has a dog”, “Can speak fluently 3 or more languages”, etc.. Sadly, Our Drupal winners were able to collect only 13 names out of 20, but it was fun to watch the game. The two winners of the game were rewarded a Google Home.
After the game, all the Grand Prize winners and mentors received bags full of Google swag including Google Pixel XL, Daydream VR, Tshirts, etc.
Then, during dinner, we interacted with other mentors and students and had a lot of fun knowing them.
Day 1: Google Mountain View
This was the Googleplex day. All the attendees were asked to gather in the hotel lobby by 7:00 am. Then everyone got into a shuttle and reached Google’s Head Office in Mountain View. It was 1-hour ride from the hotel. The event to took place in Asilomar in Google building 1900, the event started with a speech by Google’s Open Source Office Director, Chris DiBona. After that, an award was given to every Grand Prize winner by Mr. DiBona.
For the lunch, the attendees were paired with Googlers from their home country. For Indian attendees, it was Nikhil Jindal, a Googler currently working on Youtube. The food was definitely diverse and tasty, I had about 4 different cuisines on my plate. There’s a saying in Google “ Every new googler gains 15 pounds of weight”. I surely know why.
The student got $150 and mentors got $70 Gift cards to spend at the Google Store. The store had very limited electronic products but there was some nice apparel. We bought some Google and Android t-shirts.
Google Visitor Center
After buying some items from the Google store, we headed to Google Visitor Center. The center had some nice sculptures and historical equipment that Google used in the past. One of exciting thing was self-built server rack to reduce operational cost, created by Sergey Brin and Larry page in 1998.
Some more talks
During the whole day, we had technical and non-technical talks given by Googlers. Some of the talks were on Samba(Network Protocol), Waymo (Self-driving car), etc. To me, the most exciting one was Oppia given by Sean Lip, one of the other open source projects with which I’m involved.
Day 2: San Fransisco Day
While we spent the whole Day 1 at Mountain View, the third day was a tour around San Francisco.
Segway Ride/ Visit to Exploratorium
Attendees were asked to choose between a Segway ride or a visit to the Exploratorium. We choose the Segway ride. After half an hour of training, we were ready to ride our Segways. Segways were fun to ride, it was one of the coolest parts of the whole trip. After the tour, we received an honorable (althought funny) certificate from the Segway company.
Lunch At Ghirardelli Square
After the ride, we went to buy chocolates from a nearby store We later headed towards to a restaurant to have lunch. Google booked half of the restaurant for the trip attendees, the food was simply amazing.
Iconic Golden Gate Bridge
At the end of the day, we visited the Iconic Golden Gate Bridge followed by a dinner on a yacht cruise. At the Golden Gate bridge, we got to see some whales. Of course we clicked a ton of photos of the Golden Gate Bridge and on the yacht.
The event for the last day took place in Google SF office. It was about .6 miles from our hotel. We had a lovely walk on embarcadero in our way toward the office. There were more talks by Googlers. The ones I remember are Project Fi and Google Code Jam.
After that, we had lunch and clicked photos from the balcony of Google SF with an amazing view of the sea and San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge. Of course, we took tons of photo there too.
There was some more swag for Attendees to carry with themselves.
After the event was over, some of us gathered in the lobby and shared our personal stories with each other.
And then that moment came which we didn’t wanted to come, we had to return back…