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Google System Design Interview Questions for Senior Software Developers

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It’s crucial to crack system design interviews at Google, especially as you advance to senior software engineer roles. The difficulty of Google system design interview questions increases for senior software developer and management roles. Knowing how to create scalable designs that are detail-oriented and perform well will also help you advance and excel in management positions.

Whether you're designing your version of a popular website or just a feature, practicing the technical problems presented here will help you prepare for your system design interview. In this article, we'll go over some Google system design interview questions to help you ace your Google tech interview.

If you are preparing for a tech interview, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation e-book to get interview-ready! Also, read Amazon Coding Interview Questions, Facebook Coding Interview Questions to Nail Your Next Interview, and Google Coding Interview Questions for specific insights and guidance on Coding interview preparation.

Having trained over 9,000 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the most challenging tech interviews. Since 2014, Interview Kickstart alums have landed lucrative offers from FAANG and Tier-1 tech companies, with an average salary hike of 49%. The highest ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $933,000!

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In this article, we’ll learn:

  • Google System Design Interview Questions and Answers
  • Sample Google System Design Interview Questions
  • FAQs on Google System Design Interview Questions

Google System Design Interview Questions and Answers

Here are a couple of sample Google system design interview questions and the approach you should take to solve them:

Q1. How would you design a URL shortening service?

When designing the URL shortening service, your solution should:

  • Shorten URLs for ease of sharing and use
  • While shortening a URL, create a unique URL ID 
  • Delete expired URLs
  • Handle redirects
  • Have a max limit for the number of characters in the shortened URL

Q2. Design a traffic control system.

Your ideal traffic control system design here should:

  • Consider all phase transitions
  • Apportion green light time appropriately
  • Consider pedestrian crossing requirements
  • Have clearly defined conditions in which a certain transition will take place
  • Determine cycle length
  • Determine clearance time

Elaborate on all the considerations and trade-offs you’ve made when discussing your solution.

Q3. Design a social media with messaging board services like Quora or Reddit

For this Google system design interview question, your ideal solution should consider:

  • Option to follow other users, topics, and pages.
  • Statistics of each post, question, and answer posted in terms of views, likes/up-votes, and dislikes/down-votes.
  • Newsfeed generation with top content relevant to what the user wants to see is shown first.
  • Share and comment options on questions, posts, and content.

Q4. Design a search autocomplete feature.

This is a common Google system design interview question. To design a search autocomplete feature, your solution should consider:

  • Storing earlier search queries efficiently.
  • Real-time system requirement 
  • Keeping fresh data.
  • What metrics should we evaluate if a suggestion could be the best autocomplete match?
  • Ways to find the best matches for completion to what’s already typed once the metrics are decided.
  • Queries per second for the system.
  • Data storage size requirements.

Q5. How would you design a web crawler?

To design a web crawler, ideally, your solution would consider:

  • Ways to find more new and relevant web pages
  • What kind of information are we looking to crawl for?
  • The crawler is not unbounded on the same domain.
  • How will the information collection sources be prioritized?

Learn How to Crack a System Design Interview here.

Sample Google System Design Interview Questions

Here are some frequently asked Google system design interview questions:

  1. How would you design:
  • The Vending Machine In Java
  • A Visual Landmark Recognition System
  • An Elevator System
  • An E-Commerce Website
  • An E-Commerce Website Using Microservices
  • Google’s Web Crawler
  • A Video Streaming Service
  • A Global Ride-Hailing Service
  • A Chat Application
  • A Warehouse System For Google
  • Online Ticket Booking System
  • A Counters System For Online Services
  • A Game Of Chess
  • An ATM Machine
  • A Parking Garage
  • An Email Sender That Can Send 100,000,000 Emails. You Have Five Machines. How Could You Do It Efficiently?
  • Twitter Search
  • An Online Bookstore
  • A Global File Storage Or A Sharing Service
  • An API Rate Limiter
  • A Proximity Server
  • A Parking Lot System
  • A Type-Ahead Service
  • A Limit Order Book For Trading Systems
  • A Proximity Server
  • A Counters System For Online Service

Learn how to Answer System Design Interview Questions like “Design Twitter or Instagram” here.

  1. How would you design your version of:
  • Instagram
  • Pastebin
  • Amazon
  • Google Drive
  • Whatsapp
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Netflix
  • Yelp
  • Quora
  • Reddit
  • Airbnb
  • HackerNews
  • Stack Overflow

Google system design interview can make or break your chances of getting that dream offer. Practice these questions to gain confidence in your prep and ace your system design interview. Here’s a complete Guide to Crack a System Design Interview to help you prepare for your Google system design interview.

FAQs on Google System Design Interview Questions 

Q1. What are some common system design interview question topics?

Common system design interview question topics include designing your version of a popular existing website or feature or designing popular features relevant to your target company or role.

Q2. How do you approach a system design interview?

During a system design interview, instead of jumping right into solving the problem, pause to think about scalability, performance, API, and any other relevant concerns your design should consider. Your approach should also involve validating any assumptions you make and focusing on your strengths.

Q3. How hard is the system design interview?

System design interviews become increasingly difficult as you advance to more senior software engineering roles where you must apply this knowledge to create your applications. For software engineer roles, the difficulty is easy to moderate and depends on how much work you'll be doing that requires this knowledge.

Q4. Does Google involve system design?

Of course! Creating products for a global user base using planet-scale data and computer systems is a routine job at a large-scale company like Google. Scalability then becomes an essential requirement.

Q5. What is system design?

Systems design can be viewed as an application of systems theory to product development. It is the process of defining the data, components, architecture, product design, modules, interfaces, and data for a system to satisfy specified requirements. 

Ready to Nail Your Next Coding Interview?

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