Over the past months, there has been an influx of people visiting Silicon Valley. The Android Garden, at Google Campus in Mountain View, is an excellent destination for tourists. People take pictures with the iconic sculptures that represent all 11 of Android iterations.
Nowadays, taking a selfie in front of Facebook Inc is part of a vacation schedule. People from all over the world, India, Brazil, Europe and even Africa, are responsible for making tech tourism a thing. Wisconsin State Journal talked to a family from India taking pictures in front of Facebook. A teenage boy in the family was more excited about the thumbs-up sign outside Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters than visiting Disneyland. The boy said that he spent more than three hours on the social site a day.
The number of tourists visiting Google, Apple and Facebook every day is jaw-dropping. The favorite destination seems to be Google’s Android Garden in Mountain View. The visitors tour other tech giants taking photos and shooting videos. Unfortunately, none of this companies let them inside.
A Stanford communications professor, Fred Turner, has observed this technology tourism and described it as a pilgrimage. The lecturer drives past Facebook every morning and does not fail to find hundreds of selfie-seeking tourists. According to Turner, these travelers are no different from religious pilgrims who traveled long distances to visit churches in the middle ages.
Technology firms have in one way or another dictated our everyday life. The technology pilgrimage is a show that people are trying to put a physical space to their online experiences, according to Professor Turner.
Google, for instance, is an online tool used by literally anyone who uses the Internet. You use Google to search things online. Half of the population with smartphones use Google’s Android. It, therefore, beats logic seeing hundreds of people in Android Garden taking photos and walking among the hulking doughnut, giant ice-cream sandwich and huge cupcake.
It is a short distance from Android Garden to Google’s Merchandise shop. Here you can get a branded sweatshirt for $20, a t-shirt for $15, a lollipop for only $3. The most popular purchase among visitors to this shop is the Android figurines that cost between $8 and $15.
People do not cross continents and drive thousands of miles only to visit one tech company. These tourists jump from company to company. Google Facebook and Apple are the most favorite destinations. Other common destinations include Tesla, HP, Oracle, Intel, Yahoo, and eBay.
Silicon Valley tech giants are very secretive and allow limited access to their facilities. Tesla has a merchandise shop in Palo Alto headquarters. Visitors are not allowed past the shopping lobby. Security guards have a hard time keeping customers from taking pictures of the cars.
All that said, most tourists are completely satisfied with the chance to take selfies in front of this big tech companies. They post the photos on their social media pages, and their friends envy their experiences.