grelmar - 4:32 pm on Dec 23, 2010 (gmt 0)
It's a logical acquisition for Google. If you look at the hub and spoke structure of the net, that building sits on a very key spot for high end access to some core fiber. Technically, it's a wise move. As a side bonus, it gives them leverage in their ongoing turf war with traditional backbone carriers.
Also, Google has been leasing a lot of space in the building for several years, so from a purely traditional business perspective, it makes a lot of sense. Instead of leasing space and having the lease money go into someone else's pocket, they now own the building and get to take revenues from leasing out excess space in order to offset operational costs.
What's impressive is that they have the cash on hand to throw at this kind of purchase. It's another example of just how huge and cash rich Google has become.
It also indicates Google's continued move into traditional business asset management - owning large chunks of revenue generating real estate is a great buffer against the vagaries of other more volatile areas of their business. This represents almost a throwback business model of complimentary diversification.
Google helps guide US legislation?
That's somewhat misleading. All large corporations try to help craft legislation to their own advantage. AT&T has made their own proposals as guidance for relevant legislation, and AT&T's proposals would work counter to Google's interests in a lot of ways.