Will Google's Housing Plan Do No Evil?

Google complex
Google complex

Nobody likes a long commute -- especially not the otherwise coddled employees of Google, No.4 on Fortune's 2010 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For. Despite the generous perks enjoyed by the Mountain View, Calif., company's workers, such as free lunch and dinner, on-site medical clinics and subsidized day-care centers, many still put up with inconvenient commutes to Google's remote corporate headquarters.

Now Google is urging Mountain View city officials to change local zoning laws to allow the company to build six- and seven-story housing units in the North Bayshore near Highway 101, Silicon Valley's sclerotic traffic artery. After a tentative nod of support from city planners and council members, the officials reconsidered, citing potential pitfalls such as increased population density and more local traffic. Does Google's housing plan for the future violate the ubiquitous company's mantra "Don't be evil"?