[caption id="attachment_2508535" align="alignleft" width="759"] Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the first head of government to visit the Facebook campus.[/caption] PM Narendra Modi is the first head of government to visit the Facebook campus. The Indian PM had a townhall session with Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg and here's a closer look at the Menlo Park campus of the social media giant.
Photo of the square where the town hall with Modi will take place. It is inside the original campus, which was actually a Sun Microsystems headquarters.
The original campus is like a city of its own. Access is controlled, but once inside there are bunch of buildings styled to look like downtown Palo Alto. There are wide roads that connect the buildings. Huge cafeterias cater to the 6000-odd employees that work here spread over 24 hours a day.
Bicycles are the preferred mode of transportation within the campus. There are hundreds of them parked all over the campus and employees can use one to reach another part of their office if they are in a hurry.
But the distances are so huge within the campus that a lot of them use the blue Facebook bikes anyway. Since employees bring in their own bikes as well, there is even a bicycle shop that repairs them on campus.
There are lot of offices on campus with garage doors. These are reminiscent of the fact that a lot of the big tech corporations in Silicon Valley had humble beginnings, often inside garages like in the case of Apple.
The campus even has a red pedestrian bridge which the Facebook staffers call their own version of the Golden Gate bridge. In fact, both structures use the same paint.
The Facebook Analog Research Laborotary might sound like a fancy name, but this is where artists try and give an offline connect to what the social network offers online. There are resident sculptors, painters and even weavers.
Though access controlled, Fox sightings were common on campus because some of these earlier residents just refused to move on. There is a corner dedicated for these four-legged members of the FB family and warning signs that suggest that is might not be a good idea to poke them.
The Instagram headquarters has an interesting showcase of the best and most popular pictures on the photo blogging platform.
Among the displays is a car that went around the US capturing pictures for instagram. This is now a popular selfie point for visitors.
Next comes the live Facebook wall that shows the top locations for Facebook and the connections going out from these countries. Narendra Modi will be here to see the numbers for India. Here is what he will see.
Facebook’s new campus, MPK20, is across the road from the old one. Employees and visitors take a free shuttle that goes under the road to get from one office to the other.
MPK20 is unassuming to look at from outside. But it is the largest open plan office in the world with over 4,20,000 square feet of area. There are no walls within the work area, except for conference rooms. Even CEO mark Zuckerberg sits at an open desk like the rest of his crew.
The spaces are so huge, almost like a warehouse. Yet, the atmosphere is casual with bean bags, soft toys and stickers all over the place.
There is a strong wall culture within the office and everyone scribbles their ideas on the walls or white boards seen all over the campus.
With distance so huge inside MPK20, it is not uncommon to find people on bikes or skateboards.
As expected there is a digital map showing you where you are and you need to go.
Many desks have balloons on top showing numbers. These are to mark work anniversaries. Facebook is 10 years old anyone with over five years in the company gets a lot of respect.
The things you find within the office are often surprising for those who work in conventional offices. We spotted a care area for new mothers, vending machines for computer accessories, a Facebook wall in the real world and even a bar. Anything to keep the staff in high spirits.
The star attraction of MPK20 is the 9-acre green roof. If you came here directly you will be forgiven for thinking this was a park and not a rooftop garden.
With superb views of the bay area and the sand pans, this is now becoming a new work space for many employees.
The only reminders that this is a roof are the tops of the skylights that keep the office below bright through the day.
On the more serious side, the campus also has a connectivity lab created in collaboration with Ericsson. Here engineers try and customise apps for all kinds of networks and devices.
This helps gives that most of the employees have no idea how bad connectivity could get in many parts of the world. The lap is also popular with other companies who test their apps and services here.
And yes, there is a Sweet Shop where everyone can treat themselves to anything from cookies and tarts to ice creams and softies. All on the house, of course. The author was in Menlo Park as a guest of Facebook. All photos taken using a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge +