Bracing for an invasion of Google Inc. employees in February after the Internet search giant bought up its office complex, start-up Beyond.com erected a makeshift sign: "I for one welcome our Google overlords."
The one-liner, lifted from an episode of "The Simpsons," captured the ambivalence felt by Mountain View inhabitants over how rapidly Google is taking over their sleepy Silicon Valley community (population 73,000). The same company that blankets the city with free wireless Internet access and funds Mountain View's high-tech bookmobile also clogs the streets with traffic and bothers residents by flying corporate jets overhead.
Never has a Silicon Valley company risen so fast. Only nine years after its inception and three years after going public, Google is the third-most-valuable tech company, behind No. 1 Microsoft Corp. and No. 2 Cisco Systems Inc., thanks to its search engine and other Web services that in its second fiscal quarter generated an average of $43 million in revenue each day.
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