What would it be like to have Google as a neighbor? For some, it's a reality.
In 1999, Google moved to Mountain View to set up their first offices. Fifteen years later, residents who were once proud to say that Google was their neighbor have grown frustrated with the company’s mounting takeover. As of 2013, Google represents one-tenth of Mountain View and there are no plans of slowing down.
As part of their expansion plan, Google signed a deal a couple of weeks ago that got them their own airport just east of the Googleplex. The leased piece of the 1,000-acre Moffett Federal Airfield property goes with plans to build housing for Google employees. In the long run, they’re looking to keep their employees working, eating and sleeping on Google property. People can view that as either controlling, or convenient. Mountain View residents see this as a problem. They’ve been fed up with the influx of traffic since Google moved in, opposed Google housing, fought against Google building hotels, and now show concern about the protection of wildlife that exist in the area’s wildlife refuge.
Google has done their best to keep the peace with their neighbors by implementing a shuttle program that takes 5,000 cars off the road each day. In addition, thousands of employees opt to ride bikes to work. But in a meeting with city council in 2013, Google’s VP of real estate David Radcliffe stated, “We can either grow up, taking the buildings we have now and making them bigger and denser, or we can sprawl out in a continued march through neighboring business parks and communities.” He made it clear that, “Having our [their] employees right next door to each other, shoulder to shoulder, is critical to our success.”
Since that meeting, Google has bought or leased a total of about 2 million square feet of land.
It’s easy to side with the residents who are scared that their community is slowly disappearing. It’s harder to fight against a colossal company that has already taken steps to conquer all.
"What I fear mostly is that Mountain View becomes Googleville," says city council member Jac Siegel. "It’s a town controlled by Google, most of their employees live here, and it just becomes like a old factory town on the East Coast where they control anything and everything they want."
It seems like only a matter of time that Googleville will indeed, exist.
[via The Verge]