Software Testing at Google

James A. Whittaker, the former Test Director for Chrome and Chrome OS, discusses in this article what it means to be a Google tester and how Google testers approach the problems of scale, complexity and mass usage.

The first piece of advice he gives people when they ask for the keys to Google success: “don’t hire too many testers”. At Google software testing belongs to a centralized organization called Engineering Productivity that manages the developer and tester tool chain, release engineering and software testing from the unit testing activity up to exploratory testing. Google is a company built on innovation and speed and testing in this context has to be incredibly nimble. Techniques that require too much up front planning or continuous maintenance simply won’t work. Sometimes testing is interwoven with development and the two practices are indistinguishable from each other. At other times software testing is completely independent and developers are not even aware of it.

According to James A. Whittaker “Quality is not equal to test. Quality is achieved by putting development and testing into a blender and mixing them until one is indistinguishable from the other.” He also says “Testing must be an unavoidable aspect of development and the marriage of development and testing is where quality is achieved.”