September 28, 2005 3:16 PM PDT

Can Google beat the new-office curse?

Google is following in the high-tech footsteps of many Silicon Valley companies before it by dreaming big and building or leasing large new offices to accommodate a swelling employee roster.

The search giant announced on Wednesday plans to build a 1 million-square-foot campus at the NASA Ames Research Center, not far from its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, which is dubbed the "Googleplex."

campuses

Of course, some Silicon Valley companies are easily identified by their buildings. Oracle's shimmering green towers, for example, are a landmark for drivers on the Valley's Highway 101. And Sun Microsystems turned a historic mental-health facility just a 20-minute drive south from Oracle into a major office park.

But numerous others with grandiose plans overspent in the valley's boom years, only to be humbled when the tech bubble burst. That includes Silicon Graphics, whose former offices Google is now subleasing.

Perhaps one of the best-known examples of the campus curse is Borland Software, which moved into its controversial $70 million facility just south of Silicon Valley by 1994. Since then, Borland, once the second-largest independent software company in the world, has been soundly trumped by Microsoft, has experimented with changing its name, and is now not even among the top 10 software makers.

As part of the Google-NASA deal, the two entities plan to cooperate on research projects such as large-scale data management, nanotechnology, massively distributed computing and the entrepreneurial space industry.

Massively distributed computing aims to harness via the Internet the power of thousands or millions of PCs while their volunteer owners are not using them, putting the computers to work on large scale research projects such as health or space exploration.

NASA Ames Center Director G. Scott Hubbard said in a statement that the public-private partnership holds "an enormous range of potential benefits to the space program."

Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said at a news conference that the leased government land will be used largely for office space to house company research and development. Some projects will be specific to Google and others could be joint research efforts with NASA, he said.

So will Google run into Silicon Valley's version of the Sports Illustrated cover curse? That's doubtful, considering its influence and the challenge it poses to Microsoft. It's more likely to overcome the odds, like a spring training pick who still manages to win the World Series.

Reuters contributed to this report.

14 comments

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10 min from oracle to sun ?
you have to drive 180 mph to go from redwood city (oracle) to santa clara (sun micro)
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not Santa Clara
Sun's main campus is at the entrance to the Dumbarton Bridge. 10 minutes is pushing it, but not much (midday).

Now back to Google...
Posted by watergato (4 comments )
Link Flag
10 min from oracle to sun ?
you have to drive 180 mph to go from redwood city (oracle) to santa clara (sun micro)
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not Santa Clara
Sun's main campus is at the entrance to the Dumbarton Bridge. 10 minutes is pushing it, but not much (midday).

Now back to Google...
Posted by watergato (4 comments )
Link Flag
Google please grow
and replace MS.
I would rather see Google in numero uno than MS who have shown that they have no moral bone in their body.

Google the OS of the Internet.
Windows the OS for PCs.

Who has the bigger vision?
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Google please grow
and replace MS.
I would rather see Google in numero uno than MS who have shown that they have no moral bone in their body.

Google the OS of the Internet.
Windows the OS for PCs.

Who has the bigger vision?
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Tech Tabloid
I think news.com is becoming a tech tabloid trying to make news out of nothing!
Posted by (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Tech Tabloid
I think news.com is becoming a tech tabloid trying to make news out of nothing!
Posted by (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pehong's Folly at Pacific Shores makes Borland look smart
Pehong's Folly at Pacific Shores along with some very WRONG business ideas was the ULTIMATE in WRONG WAY real estate bets. Pehong's BVSN signed up for three new buildings at Pacific Shores and had to buy out the 10 year leases with nearly all its cash, then finally get taken under for 84 cents after a 9:1 reverse split. Pehong makes Borland look smart.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pehong's Folly at Pacific Shores makes Borland look smart
Pehong's Folly at Pacific Shores along with some very WRONG business ideas was the ULTIMATE in WRONG WAY real estate bets. Pehong's BVSN signed up for three new buildings at Pacific Shores and had to buy out the 10 year leases with nearly all its cash, then finally get taken under for 84 cents after a 9:1 reverse split. Pehong makes Borland look smart.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You are SPAM
I think someone telling us about a Search engine where "we the People" affect the search results rather than machines, is an extremelly valuable information. Unless of course you are a Google share holder or otherwise brain washed by Google or Yahoo PR machine.
Posted by 207495111267145837975635436522 (58 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You are SPAM
I think someone telling us about a Search engine where "we the People" affect the search results rather than machines, is an extremelly valuable information. Unless of course you are a Google share holder or otherwise brain washed by Google or Yahoo PR machine.
Posted by 207495111267145837975635436522 (58 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Add to the list of Campus = failure
Ariba next to the blue cube, cut 2k staff before they even moved. Never occupied more than 1 and a half buildings, and now only occupy 3 floors in one building.
S3 (Exodus moved in there after S3 bit it)
BayNetworks, well that was really a buyout, not an utter and complete failure.
Commerce One in Walnut Creek, and far too many other see thru buildings on the 680 corridor between Walnut Creek and Pleasenton.

What are some others?
Posted by webdev511 (254 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Add to the list of Campus = failure
Ariba next to the blue cube, cut 2k staff before they even moved. Never occupied more than 1 and a half buildings, and now only occupy 3 floors in one building.
S3 (Exodus moved in there after S3 bit it)
BayNetworks, well that was really a buyout, not an utter and complete failure.
Commerce One in Walnut Creek, and far too many other see thru buildings on the 680 corridor between Walnut Creek and Pleasenton.

What are some others?
Posted by webdev511 (254 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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