I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at Google (Mountain View, CA) in April 2014.
Direct onsite because I interviewed in the past and did well that time. From the time I sent my resume to interview day: 2 weeks. From interview day to offer over the phone: 2 weeks.
The syllabus for the interviews is very clear and simple:
1) Dynamic Programming
2) Super recursion (permutation, combination,...2^n, m^n, n!...etc. type of program. (NP hard, NP programs)
3) Probability related programs
4) Graphs: BFS/DFS are usually enough
5) All basic data structures from Arrays/Lists to circular queues, BSTs, Hash tables, B-Trees, and Red-Black trees, and all basic algorithms like sorting, binary search, median,...
6) Problem solving ability at a level similar to TopCoder Division 1, 250 points. If you can consistently solve these, then you are almost sure to get in with 2-weeks brush up.
7) Review all old interview questions in Glassdoor to get a feel. If you can solve 95% of them at home (including coding them up quickly and testing them out in a debugger + editor setup), you are in good shape.
8) Practice coding--write often and write a lot. If you can think of a solution, you should be able to code it easily...without much thought.
9) Very good to have for design interview: distributed systems knowledge and practical experience.
10) Good understanding of basic discrete math, computer architecture, basic math.
11) Coursera courses and assignments give a lot of what you need to know.
12) Note that all the above except the first 2 are useful in "real life" programming too!
Graph related question and super recursion
Design discussion involving a distributed system with writes/reads going on at different sites in parallel.
Array and Tree related questions
Designing a simple class to do something. Not hard, but not easy either. You need to know basic data structures very well to consider different designs and trade-offs.
Computer architecture and low level perf. enhancement question which requires knowledge of Trees, binary search, etc.
At the end, I wasn't tired and rather enjoyed the discussions. I think the key was long term preparation and time spent doing topcoder for several years (on and off as I enjoy solving the problems).
Conclusion: "It's not the best who win the race; it's the best prepared who win it."
You can and should negotiate politely. You are in a stronger position if you have another offer, but even otherwise, you should ask for more of every type of payment!
Hiring is one of the most important things an organization does. Every new hire affects the team, culture, and company direction. It pays to invest time, resources, and research into the hiring process. Making the wrong hire can be far more costly than taking the time to make the right one.
Companies continue to spend substantially more on training than on hiring. ASTD’s 2012 State of the Industry Report found that American companies spent $156,200,000,000 on learning programs in 2011. The average employee received thirty-one hours of training over the year, which works out to more than thirty minutes each week. Why not front-load the investment and spend the majority of time and money on attracting, assessing, and cultivating new hires? If you are better able to select the right people up front, then you can spend less time on training bad hires and dealing with the consequences.
Every step in the hiring process - from resume review to interview training - is an opportunity to improve the final decision. Processes such as structured interviews and hiring committees can help ensure hires will be great for the long-term.