AN internet newcomer has been given an exclusive peek behind the scenes at a web giant’s headquarters.
Christopher Baker, 68, took his very first steps online at Shotton IT Resource Centre, a UK online centre, this summer.
But little did he know that he was among hundreds of people who happened to log on just as UK online centres reached a milestone to help get half a million people online since April 2010.
And as a special prize Christopher, and six other winners, got to find out what goes on in one of the UK’s biggest technology companies and got a taste of life online – Google style.
The Google day-out included a tour of the organisation’s new offices in London and a Google Earth masterclass.
Chris, from Shotton Colliery, said: “I was so pleased to be invited down to Google.
“I Google things all the time on the internet, and Google Earth is one of my favourites so the masterclass has just been fantastic.
“I can’t wait to go home and start putting my pictures up as I’ve learned how to do this.
“Getting started with computers and the internet has been great for me. I’m a keen plane spotter and can find out more about my hobbies online. Without the UK online centre at Shotton IT Resource Centre, and the help of my tutor Jim, I’d still be in the dark but now I’m loving using the computer and can’t wait to learn more.”
Helen Milner, managing director of UK online centres, said: “We’ve got a target of getting one million more people online by 2013, and we wanted to commemorate reaching the halfway mark.
“Half a million is a pretty big number and our six learners – including Chris – represent what it actually means, and all the people across England we’ve helped to get online over the last 18 months.
“A Google day out seemed like the perfect way for them to celebrate their new skills, and learn some new ones straight from the horse’s mouth.”
Google’s director of external relations, Peter Barron, said: “I’m delighted Chris took the decision to get online when he did, and that Google has been a part of his experience. It was fantastic to show some of our newest customers around some of the exciting tools Google has to offer, and to share some top tips to help them on their way.”
Anyone interested in finding out about the web can call Shotton IT Resource Centre on (0191) 5208110, or call 0800 771234 to find a UK online centre near you.