I'm going to be joining Google soon, and my current approach is just to come in and stabilize as a solid L4. Over time, I’ll assess my situation and see how I should pursue leveling up. I would like to grow (i.e. eventually make it to L5), but I’m not in a huge rush - I don’t think I want to set a very concrete goal like “I want to get promoted from L4 to L5 in 1.5 years”. Thoughts?
I think this is a very healthy mentality to have: Taking 3-6 months to stabilize as a solid L4 seems like a good thing to do. Make sure to communicate this goal with your manager in case they're very ambitious: You don't want a mismatch where you just want to stabilize at L4 in the first half while your EM is pushing you to get to L5 from Day 1.
After that, your speed depends on your priorities. If you really care about level/compensation, you can strive for something more aggressive (e.g L4 to L5 in 1 year), otherwise there's nothing wrong in taking 2 to even 5 years to get to L5. Being a solid L4 at Google alone is already a good accomplishment!