In this photo taken April 12, 2011, a workshop space created for Google employees is seen in Mountain View, Calif.
Amid all the free food and other goodies that come with a job at Google, there’s one benefit that a lot of employees don’t even know about: a cluster of high-tech workshops tucked into an isolated corner of the company’s sprawling headquarters.
Matthew Valente, a mechanical engineer on the streetview division, works on a prototype at a workshop space created for Google employees.
Workers escape from their computer screens and office chairs to weld, drill and saw on expensive machinery they won't find at Home Depot.
Besides building contraptions with a clear business purpose, Google employees use the shops for fun: They create elaborate holiday decorations, build cabinets for their homes and sometimes dream big like the engineers working on a pedal-powered airplane with a 100-foot wingspan.
Mechanical Engineer Daniel Ratner demonstrates the StreetView Trike used as a mapping resource by the StreetView team at Google. Ratner created the prototype for the bicycle in a machine shop created for employees on the company's campus.
The “Google Workshops” are the handiwork of company co-founder Larry Page, who took over as CEO on April 4. His top priority has been making the Internet giant work with the verve and creativity of a garage-bound entrepreneur. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)