It may sound like a strange idea, yet Google (the company becoming synonymous with evil) employees are supposedly being regularly harassed by San Francisco locals because they are driving housing and rental prices up to unaffordable levels.
Unsurprisingly, Google’s decision to hand out free bus passes has fallen far short (really folks didn’t take bus passes instead of affordable homes, go figure?!?) and the “let them eat cake” like comments by Google’s Chairman aren’t helping.
In addition Google is working on a lot of crazy things including robots that will take people’s jobs, self-driving cars that will take people’s jobs, technology that will better mine people’s personal information. Remember, back in 2009 Google removed the “do no evil” thing so their efforts wouldn’t be hampered by any silly self-inflicted restrictions like avoiding evil. Google is the only company I’m aware of that has ever been chased out of towns with pitchforks. If that isn’t scary enough, apparently there is even a Church of Google.Fortunately the Google Church is just a joke, well, at least I hope it is.
I figure in a few years Google employees will look back at the days when folks just demonstrated in front of their homes as “the good old days.” You take away people’s homes, jobs, and personal information all at once and some folks may be a wee bit upset. (I apparently found a YouTube video of a future response to another empathetic speech by Google’s Chairman).
To avoid this they will likely have to build their own city, put a huge wall and mote around it, and then patrol it with Google Drones (did I mention that Google is looking into drones that hunt people?) So what might that look like?
The Google Arcology
An Arcology is a self-contained structure with all of the stores, recreation, jobs and living accommodations that a person would want and need to live. In a way one of the larger Google campuses is very much like an Arcology, already boasting recreation facilities, shops, extensive food services, which are all surrounded by security. Generally, employees aren’t encouraged to live there but the competitive nature of the company and the competitive environment it creates has some employees basically living in their offices so, for some, an Arcology wouldn’t be all that different.
Google really hates paying taxes so I would expect it to be located off-shore on a natural or man-made island far enough off the coast of any country so that most tax laws wouldn’t apply. It wouldn’t surprise me if Google tried to make it a sovereign country so they could have their own rules with regard to labor as well. Schmidt has even started to think of Google as a separate Capitalistic Country – likely in preparation for this move.
Google already has a fleet of planes conveniently kept at a US military base and a fleet of ships. Some of them are far more interesting mystery ships that look like missile platforms – one of which is strategically placed near long term Google Enemy Microsoft in Portland. Since they are apparently no longer getting their fuel from NASA, it might make sense to have an oil drilling platform and refinery on their custom island.
But with their own robots, drones, Air Force and Navy they could easily move people and secure their borders.
The Google Arcology/City/Country would be contemporary, have lots of windows, lots of open spaces, and likely meld home and work more aggressively than we have seen before based on existing Google campuses. Salaries would likely be low but the company would cover most living expenses including food, rent, and entertainment. Google isn’t a big believer in pensions and doesn’t have the best rep when it comes to age discrimination so retirement, if you live that long, could be a bitch (you probably won’t retire at the Google facility). But whatever money you make you can likely bank so you might end up with some retirement.
So the Google Arcology/Country would likely be mostly folks under 40, who are willing to lead highly controlled lives, for low pay but strong benefits, in an antiseptic but safe environment. Seems to me there was a movie on a place like this done by someone in college at the time. I’m just not sure I’d want to live there. This picture of a Google Campus suggests why.
Wrapping Up: The Country of Google
The path that Google is on suggests the company will eventually explore the idea of moving offshore and creating a secure Arcology to better control and protect its employees. Once complete, I think it will only be a small step before they declare their new headquarters/Arcology and new country and seek additional tax savings. The resulting country would be highly controlled and monitored and like be a lot safer than any other city/country on the planet.
I think it will have a lot less freedom for everyone but the top Google executives who will control the laws and people that live there. Eventually, I think Google will build a self-contained facility like an Arcology. Given how many people the company is pissing off I doubt they’ll have much choice. Plus, the Arcology has a pretty good chance of becoming a country. The question is would you want to live there? You might, and you very well might regret it then again you might not. Though, for some reason, the game BioShock is coming to mind, although I think Google’s island country might look a tad more like this.