When Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) and NASA scheduled a press conference to make a major announcement last night, it was easy to go dizzy with the possibilities.
- The debut of Google Earth: The Reality Series.
- Google to colonize moon, populate craters with contextual ads.
- Billionaire founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page to buy Jupiter, lease out its moons.
- NASA scientists reveal that the world really does revolve around Google.
- Google astronauts go into orbit, Tang files trademark-infringement lawsuit.
- Neil Armstrong trades moon rocks for Google stock certificates.
The reality proved to be more down to Earth, but not necessarily any less outlandish. Google will be teaming up with NASA to build out NASA Research Park, a huge million-square-foot facility within NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. There, the two parties will work together on technology-based research projects that may carry some weighty ramifications in the future.
Now, we've always known that Google was a brilliant geek company with a sci-fi bent. You see it in some of the eclectic homepage dedications and in the amazing satellite-mapping wizardry of Google Earth. You even see it in Google AdSense, where the sample ads for publishers are for telescope companies.
As long as this project doesn't detract Google from its paid-search knitting, I say blast off at will! There may be another method to this celestial madness. The company has been a busy recruiter lately, adding 700 new hires this past quarter alone. Perhaps NASA Research Park will help Google lure the brainiac scientific intellects that it covets who can't be swayed by piles of cash.
Google would rather hire an academic genius than a seasoned MBA. Don't believe me? You will. So is this a clever recruiting tool or a generous gesture to help NASA get back on its feet? Does it matter? Google's track record has been so good in the past that even the zaniest of projects deserves patient deference until proven faulty. It's why companies that once used to tower over Google, like Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) , eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY ) , and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) , get weak at the knees when Google so much as steps in their general direction.
So why is Google venturing into outer space? The better to see you, my dear.
Although Google is not a recommendation in the Rule Breakers newsletter service, it's got that offbeat approach to winning it all that seems to permeate many of the newsletter's picks. Take off with afree 30-day trial. eBay is aMotley Fool Stock Advisorpick.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz digs Google, but he does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.