By Kiet Do

MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS SF) — Google marks its 20th anniversary Tuesday; and in those two decades, the company has grown enormously and the company’s Mountain View neighbors have seen it all.

As if the Googleplex itself wasn’t big enough, there’s another massive construction project going on right next door.

The company continues to grow like gangbusters, building a new tent-like structure at the corner of Charleston Rd. and N. Shoreline Blvd.

With autonomous cars zipping through the streets, hundreds of shuttle buses, and – yes, of course – those colorful bikes, Google is a long way from the Stanford dorm where it all got started in 1998.

On this 20th anniversary, here in Mountain View, it begs the question: has Google been a good neighbor?

“So, I’ve said before, Google’s done everything right, but not grow,” said Mountain View Mayor Lenny Siegel. “So even though their growth has created problems for us, they’re a partner in trying to solve them.”

Reporter: “So, I take that as a ‘yes?’”

Siegel: “Yes.”

To address the housing shortage, the city is building 10,000 new units in the heavily congested North Bayshore area near the campus itself, with Google’s input and help.

What’s more, Siegel says over the years, Google has paid for projects small and large all over the city – such as doggie cleanup stations, fitness trails, bike crossings, low-income housing, and a kitchen at a church to cook meals for the homeless – totaling millions of dollars.

Siegel did not mince his words when it came to other corporations in Silicon Valley. ”Google is probably doing more than any of the other large, dominant companies,” said Siegel. “And the best comparison is Apple. Apple seems to be ‘We gave you the iPhone and we pay our taxes, we’re done.’”

But what’s it like to actually be a neighbor? A man who lives inside an RV literally next to the Google campus did not want to talk on camera, but said they leave him alone.

The Santiago Villa mobile home park is the closest neighborhood to Google, sandwiched in between NASA Ames and Microsoft offices. Lucia Cavini has lived in Santiago Villa for 20 years, and agrees Google has been a good neighbor. However, Cavini says while Google’s boom has been great for her home value, most of her neighbors are now renters. Also, because of the horrendous traffic she has to think twice before leaving the house during commute hours.

But to be fair, she says Google does hold regular meetings to address complaints. “Mountain View used to be very quiet. I don’t mind some progress.,” she said.

Resident James Boyd lives near the infamous long stretch of parked RVs, and says traffic is also his biggest complaint. “I’ve been here since 1981, and it hasn’t always been this way, but I guess that’s the progress that we’re having now.”


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