At Google, the limitations are as limited as possible.

Jim and I were talking about “Google Code Jam” and he assumed the language we both know really well, VBScript, wouldn’t be an acceptable language.  I just happened to have read the rules and here is how I sumarized it to him:

“You can use whatever language/tools you want.  You can solve the problem with paper and fax it in if you want.  Want to solve it with Excel with macros, go ahead?  What about MathCAD . . . sure.  ANYTHING.  At Google, the limitations are as limited as possible.  I’m amazed that we even have to register to see the examples.”

Having been to Google I/O and 3D Basecamp and I can vouch that Google tries it’s best to give people every possible option.  Everyone knows about the food selection (but no matter what you’ve read to experience it is to be amazed) but at 3D Basecamp on Google’s main campus, as an attendee, you walk from room to room or building to building following the signs that tell you where to go.  You walk about the halls of Google and, sure, security is watching your every move but there are no signs that say “DON’T GO HERE” or “FORBIDDEN” or “Google Empoyees Only”.  If you happen to wander to an area you shouldn’t be in I imagine those blue shirted security guys and gals will pounce but there is the illusion of freedom as you walk about the campus and it’s refreshing.