Oogling Google...

When you visit Google's headquarters, you have a vague feeling that there's something wrong here, but it's hard to say exactly what.

In nearly every way, Google seems a corporate utopia, a vision of an idealised 21st-century company. The campus looks more like an idyllic resort than an office complex where anyone ever gets any work done. The centrepiece of the main quadrangle is a beach volleyball court that sees a lot of action throughout the day.

...

Suddenly, you realise why: This epicentre of the Silicon Valley present is haunted by a ghost of the Silicon Valley past. You've been right here before, in this very spot, during its original incarnation as the campus of Silicon Graphics Inc. Remember SGI? It was one of the hottest tech companies of the early 1990s. Like Google, SGI was a geeky innovator glamorised by an adoring media - most famously, its expensive graphics computers powered the special effects for Hollywood blockbusters such as Terminator 2. But once its rivals had time to catch up, SGI went into freefall. By 2001 the company had to lay off thousands of workers and abandon the gleaming new headquarters it had constructed. In came Google, leasing almost 50,000 square metres of the SGI space to accommodate its mushrooming workforce, which has grown to 3000 people worldwide.

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