Google's future campuses are as flexible as its technology

Google's proposed new campus

Hey, Apple and NVIDIA: you aren't going to be the only Silicon Valley giants with outlandish office space. Google has revealed a proposed redesign of its Mountain View campuses (specifically, four sites) that not only doesn't resemble a traditional workplace, but mirrors the company's open, flexible approach to tech. Rather than house everyone in concrete, Google plans "lightweight, block-like" facilities that can shuffle around as workers shift their focus to projects like self-driving cars. The buildings should do a better job of blending into the environment, too. They'll use translucent canopies to let in more air and light, and the emphasis is on protecting nature and the community (by promoting bike paths, local businesses and wildlife) rather than creating a sea of offices and parking lots.

The Mountain View City Council still has to accept the proposal before it becomes a practical reality, and there's no mention of when the revamp might be ready (Apple's spaceship campus should be finished in 2016). If everything goes according to plan, though, Google's effort will be extremely ambitious -- it'll expand the company's footprint in a dramatic way, but it shouldn't turn the southern Bay Area into a corporate wasteland.