The Ventures Stories February 11, 2014

Google takes over NASA’s blimp hangar, but likely for exec jets rather than drones or balloons

NASA has announced that Google subsidiary Planetary Ventures has taken over the lease of its massive Hangar One at Moffet Field. While the hangar was built for dirigibles, and Google is working on balloon-based Internet access, the hangar is likely to be used for the more mundane purpose of storing a bunch of executive jets belonging to Google execs. And these planes will likely have pilots unlike the Drones google is also working on. 

Wired reports that the landmark hangar has been a problem for NASA since 1997.

NASA took over Hangar One in 1994, but it’s been a thorn in the space agency’s side. In 1997, NASA discovered toxic PCBs in the hangar, and it has been mothballed and off-limits to humans ever since. As part of the lease agreement, Google will not only fix up Hangar One, but it will also rehabilitate two other Moffett Field hangars, build an on-site educational facility, and even upgrade NASA’s golf course.

Google is already building a 1.2 million square foot R&D facility on land leased from NASA, and is working with the agency on testing the world’s first quantum computer.

The hangar can be seen below in its original role.

The Ventures Stories August 23, 2013

Report: Google Ventures invests $250M in Uber private car service

According to a report from AllThingsD, Google’s investment arm, Google Ventures, just invested around $250 million into Uber, the private car delivery service that lets users order vehicles through mobile apps. The investment comes as Uber raises $360 million at a valuation of around $3.5B:

Though pricey, the latest scramble to be in the Uber funding round was apparently very competitive. Sources said Google won the investment because of direct intervention by CEO Larry Page, who met with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.

While it would be a bit stretch to guess what plans Google might have for Uber down the road, there are a few Google services in development that could benefit. Some have speculated that Uber could help power a future driverless car service from Google, but perhaps more realistic for the short term would be deliveries. Since last year Google has been testing a same-day delivery service in and around San Francisco, and it reportedly planned to use driverless cars to do so.

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