John Wilkes says that joining Google was like swallowing the red pill in The Matrix, Wired.com reports. Four years ago, Wilkes knew Google only from the outside. He was among the millions whose daily lives so deeply depend on things like Google Search and Gmail and Google Maps. But then he joined the engineering team at the very heart of Google’s online empire, the team of big thinkers who design the fundamental hardware and software systems that drive each and every one of the company’s web services. These systems span a worldwide network of data centers, responding to billions of online requests with each passing second, and when Wilkes first saw them in action, he felt like Neo as he downs the red pill, leaves the virtual reality of the Matrix, and suddenly lays eyes on the vast network of machinery that actually runs the thing…

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staff and wire services reports