192: Working for Google

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Working for Google
I hear once you've worked there for 256 days they teach you the secret of levitation.
Title text: I hear once you've worked there for 256 days they teach you the secret of levitation.


Many look up to Google as the ultimate workplace in the IT industry. Therefore, they have lots of applicants but can afford to be very selective, and only the best and brightest succeed.

In the first panel, the guy at the computer asks his friend (both look like Cueball) what he thinks about working at Google HQ (Head Quarters). His friend starts out by dismissing Google as a "corporate idea factory," but from the rest of his speech, we can infer that these are not his true feelings. He is exhibiting the attitude known as "sour grapes," where you criticize something that is out of your reach, or that has been denied from you.

In the last panel, it is revealed that the friend has been trying very hard to get a job at Google, even resorting to bribing the interview panel by baking them a cake "shaped like the Internet." This misguided action is a sign of how much he wanted a position.

Since the Internet does not have a defined shape, it is difficult to visualize exactly what he baked. The comment was maybe foreshadowing 195: Map of the Internet that came out a week later. It would, though, be a more interesting cake if it looked like the map in 256: Online Communities, but that came out 20 weeks later. Another possibility is that the comment is a reference to this video, in which the black box shown is supposedly the Internet. If this is the case, then the cake would have been shaped like the box in the video.

The title text says that if you work for Google for 256 (28) days, you get to learn how to levitate. This displays some of the mystique with which Google is commonly viewed. The joke here is that 256 is bigger by one than the largest value a single byte can hold, as has been demonstrated with the 256 Bug. However, Astro Teller, the director of Google X labs, a Google division that researches "moonshot" projects, has mentioned in an interview that they contemplated starting a levitation project.


[A guy sits at a computer and addresses his friend standing behind.]
Guy: Have you read about Google HQ? It sounds like an incredible place to work.
[The friend throws his hands in the air as he delivers this speech:]
Friend: Man, I ain't going to be chained down in no corporate idea factory! They think just 'cause they've got a nice building and laid back culture, I'm gonna want to come in all day long and work on fascinating problems with the smartest people in the world.
[Close up of the guy staring at his friend.]
[Back to the original setting.]
Guy: So, what, they turned you down?
Friend: I don't understand it! I even baked them a cake shaped like the Internet!


  • Interestingly, it took Cueball about a year to learn the secret of levitation anyway. That comic was published on December 5, 2007, 366 days after this one, so not working at Google only slowed him down by a bit over three months.

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I honestly can't see anything incomplete about it. But then, I may be naive about it. Anonymous 04:57, 13 December 2013 (UTC)

Neither can I, however there is a bit of irrelevant information such as, how not to pad your resume and having original ideas -- the explanation probably should be edited down to be more consisce and to the proint of what the comic is about i.e. "sour grapes" Spongebog (talk)

Perhaps the cake was foreshadowing http://xkcd.com/195/, the Map of The Internet. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

A cake that has the shape of the Internet might actually be one shaped of Internet Explorer. Greyson (talk) 18:00, 13 December 2013 (UTC)

No, it may not. 19:25, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

There are some true stories of people showing up at Google interviews with gifts for the interviewers. In case if you wonder, they don't get hired. 02:17, 29 January 2014

The cake should be created with a series of tubes.00:14, 23 September 2014 (UTC)~

There is a community portal discussion of what to call Cueball and what to do in case with more than one Cueball. I have added this comic to the new Category:Multiple Cueballs. In this case there is no reason to call one Cueball and the other friend. It could easily be the other way. So I have changed to remove Cueball. --Kynde (talk) 14:33, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

By saying he baked a "cake in the shape of the Internet," he inadvertently revealed that he has no clue what is the Internet, and that he exhibited said cluelessness openly to his interviewers -- explaining his rejection. Mountain Hikes (talk) 02:54, 21 September 2015 (UTC)

Google {Search} is a monopoly that violates US Antitrust Law. Google pays couple of billions of USD each year to The Congress so The Congress lets it slip. The rest of the Google (including Google re-branding) is a theater of absurd where people with pedigrees think that they are important, but mostly getting paid for non competing with Google. 18:24, 12 June 2018 (UTC)

What if the cake he made was shaped like internet explorer, proving to the interviewer he was incompetent. 9:10, 11 April 2019 (UTC)~