"For Google, Mountain View is part home, part developable land and part beta test for the company. For the city, Google is part economic engine, part benefactor and a soon-to-be real-estate developer with an opportunistic eye for underused assets - like, say the landing strip at Moffett Field, a former Navy air station, where jets of Google executives now come and go.
Perhaps uniquely, Google is also casting itself as a partner with NASA, now the proprietor of Moffett Field. This partnership is making Mountain View a stop along the virtual route to Mars and the real route to the Moon.
'It's a cool anomaly because the company-town tradition had basically died in the U.S.,' said Jerry Davis, a professor at the University of Michigan, who has written about the ties between companies and cities. 'It's interesting to see Google put their touches on the idea.'"
As the company looks to expand its footprint, local officials are facing tough questions about one of their most valuable constituents.