Culture
6:06 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

Google Lounge: A Haven for Journalists

Just a few steps away from the security perimeter outside the Tampa Convention Center is a reporter's oasis.

It’s the Google Lounge—and it’s swanky.

On the last day of the convention, journalists filled the lounge, taking advantage of all it has to offer. It sounded like a school cafeteria with laughter piercing through the din of journalistic chatter.

The furniture looks like it came out of an episode of The Jetsons. Each table has  plugs to power a laptop or a phone, making it a great work station amid the hustle and bustle of the RNC.

Deep, retro round chairs in Google's trademark red, yellow, green and blue pepper the wooden floor. There's also a mall-like photo booth to take pictures and upload them to Google+.

The best part--it's free.

Google spokeswoman Samantha Smith says the lounge is used for work and play.

“We have media partners doing hangouts with their followers on Google+ and live streaming to their YouTube page so really it’s a place where you can plug in, follow your stories, connect with people that couldn’t otherwise make it to Tampa and tell them what’s going on in the ground here.”

Corey Kane, a student freelancing from the RNC, is at the lounge for the most basic reason: Internet.

“We don’t have Internet access in the building, but we have Internet access in the Google lounge. This is where we file our stories from, this is essentially our workspace.”

If they’re not here using the lightning fast Internet service, other journalists are in line for another commodity in high demand: coffee.

“I’m really enjoying the coffee, I know I've talked about it a lot.”

...served up at Google Bytes, the pop up coffee shop run by Tampa's Buddy Brew.

Others were—

“Obviously here for work”

That was Evelyn Messinger, who works for LinkTV. She sat at her laptop, editing a video. 

Jamal Thalji works for the Tampa Bay Times. He’s normally covering protests during the RNC, but stopped in mid-day Thursday to check out what it has to offer.

“Maybe I’ll get a cup of coffee, see what’s going on, see how many famous journalists we can spot…”

The lounge is a place to see and be seen—famed New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman sat at one of the lounge’s futuristic chairs while Geraldo Rivera milled about.

And if you’re a reporter who isn’t tired of running around, there are two treadmills to power up your own batteries and charge your laptop.

As you walk in the lounge, a large glass studio broadcasts live to the YouTube channels of Google's media partners like Al Jazeera English, The New York Times, The Daily Beast and Buzzfeed.

If you don't want to work, there are more than enough distractions. Two massage chairs host nearly-sleeping journalists. 

It's a break  from live shots and deadlines, even if that break only lasts as long as a cup of locally-brewed latte.

And That's What They're Saying.