Chad Dickerson wrote an interesting article titled, "The Google Way," about a session given by Nelson Minar at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference.

As a general practice, Google also requires that its engineers spend 20 percent of their time working on personal technology projects unrelated to their primary projects.

I had the pleasure of discussing scripting languages over some cold beer with Nelson Minar one evening during Gnomdex 3.0. Let's just say I'm a big fan of Perl and Nelson like using Python. :-)