Why Google, Inc.'s Space Voyage Matters

Project Tango takes a trip to the space station. Don’t think this is the last time we’ll see this technology in distant places.

Jul 16, 2014 at 10:00AM

On Sunday, Google's (NASDAQ:GOOGL)(NASDAQ:GOOG) Project Tango lifted off for the International Space Station. Fool contributor Tim Beyers explains the implications in the following video.

Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft is on a resupply mission to the ISS. Upon arrival, the the station's astronauts will retrofit a Project Tango smartphone to an onboard flying robot known as SPHERES, for "Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient Experimental Satellites."

The idea is to use Project Tango's multiple cameras and 3-D rendering technology to better guide the robot around the station. Currently, SPHERES is limited to a flying within a two-foot by two-foot area so as to not accidentally damage sensitive equipment, Computerworld reports.

Can investors really take pride in this sort of one-off? Absolutely. Google is a data company, after all. Project Tango makes collecting the most unusual information -- like how to navigate a robot around a spaceship -- that much easier. Now take that same idea and apply it to other explorations. What if Project Tango were to make it easier for robots to navigate deep-sea drilling operations? Or how about inspecting fracking sites? Think of a dangerous job that's suitable for a robot, and Project Tango's 3-D technology could make it more effective at performing the task.

Tim says investors need to think as expansively as founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin do when it comes to Google's mission to organize the world's information. For example, if you look back at their 2004 founder's letter, you'll find that "search" is mentioned just three times. "Information" shows up 10 times, as in this snippet:

"Our intense and enduring interest was to objectively help people find information efficiently. We also believed that searching and organizing all the world's information was an unusually important task that should be carried out by a company that is trustworthy and interested in the public good. We believe a well functioning society should have abundant, free and unbiased access to high quality information."

Notice the context. How the company collects bits and bytes isn't important; it's the act of collecting that matters. That's why we're seeing so many crazy bets: the search engine is just one tool for gathering information. Google needs more of these 'collectors,' including otherworldly gadgets such as Project Tango, to fulfill its stated purpose.

Conversely, were Google to limit itself to organizing and optimizing the cloud, powering a few devices, and scouring the Web for facts, it wouldn't be much more than a Microsoft clone. That Page and Brin refuse to be constrained suggests that the business, and the stock, won't be either.

Leaked: Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you)
Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out, and some early viewers are claiming its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early-in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!

Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Google (A and C class) and Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home and portfolio holdings, or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool recommends Google (A and C shares), Apple and Orbital Sciences and owns shares of Google (A and C class), Apple and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information