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Google's plans for a massive, futuristic new headquarters get derailed by LinkedIn

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Function wins over form

Google's search for a place to build its giant and oddly mysterious glass utopia will have to be somewhere else than Mountain View's North Bayshore district. In a vote from the area's city council last night, the group decided that LinkedIn and not Google will get the majority of the 2.2 million square foot development. Google had planned a massive, sprawling campus that would be covered in an ultra-thin glass mesh. That looked great in renderings, but the city ended up going with a much more simple and straightforward plan from LinkedIn, giving the company more than two-thirds of the space and leaving Google with the leftovers, reports the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

The amount of space Google's getting means it could build just one of the four buildings that were part of the original construction plan. Danish architect Bjarke Ingels from the Bjarke Ingels Group and Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio teamed up on the design, which aimed to hide parking lots underground and green up the area with trees and other foliage. Interestingly, the project also sought to mix big parts of Google's headquarters with areas open to the public.

LinkedIn's plan was actually a little more reasonable

As The New York Times notes, LinkedIn's plan was a much more sensible option between the two. For one, it could be done using current construction techniques, whereas Google admitted that some of the ideas it had were not technologically feasible just yet. LinkedIn's plan also promised to diversify Mountain View's mix of local businesses away from Google, a company whose tax revenue its tied to for better or for worse.

Google's project was one of the most visually curious designs for a tech redesign a time when just about every big company in the area is trying to reinvent its campus. Facebook recently opened up a new 430,000-square-foot campus in nearby Menlo Park that was designed by architect Frank Gehry and sports the world's largest open floor plan. Apple, meanwhile, is in the midst of constructing its own spaceship-like circular campus in Cupertino to replace the one at 1 Infinite Loop. It's set to open up next year, and promises to house 13,000 of Apple's employees under a single roof.

Google could still end up building somewhere else

This particular setback doesn't mean Google is done trying to reimagine how its campus of the future will look. SVBJ notes that there are a still few nearby areas close to its existing campus where it might be able to build its glass utopia. That includes nearby Moffett field, a space that's about half the size of its original building plans located, and that Google took ownership of last month that will be used for its robotics projects.

For nostalgia's sake, here's Google's original pitch for the project: