VC is Google shorthand for video conference. Looking up at the screen on his desk, Fikes could see Wilson Hsieh sitting inside a Google office in Manhattan, and Hsieh could see him. They also ran VC links to a Google office in Kirkland, Washington, near Seattle. Their engineering team spanned three offices in three different parts of the country, but everyone could still chat and brainstorm and troubleshoot without a moment’s delay, and this is how Google built Spanner.
“You walk into our cubes, and we’ve got VC on — all the time,” says Fikes, who joined Google in 2001 and now ranks among the company’s distinguished software engineers. “We’ve been doing this for years. It lowers all the barriers to communication that you typically have.”