As I’ve blogged on many occasions recently, I think the reasons for this are obviously not altruistic. But it’s an interesting phenomenon nonetheless. From Battle of the Titans loc 609-623:
It feels like a college campus, and that’s exactly how it’s supposed to feel. The source of Google’s success has been the quality of the engineers it hires out of top colleges. Rather than make them feel as if they’ve just joined the marines—as other corporations might—Google wants to keep them feeling that they’ve never left school so that they stay creatively wide-eyed. The campus has a swimming pool, gyms, a convenience store, a day-care center, a place to get haircuts, and drop-off dry cleaning. Almost every building has a laundry room. One summer back in 2004 a bunch of summer interns tried to live at Google rather than search for housing. They slept on couches and ran their whole lives out of the Googleplex until they were told they were violating the fire code.
“We made an explicit decision 25 to keep the buildings crowded,” Google executive chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt told me back then. “There’s kind of a certain amount of noise that kind of gets everybody to work and gets them excited. It’s really based on how computer-science graduate schools work. If you go to a graduate school, like go to the Stanford Computer Science building, you’ll see two, three, or even four in an office. That model is one which is very familiar to our programmers and for us because we were all in those offices too, and we know it’s a very productive environment.”