Today Portfolio.com has the backround with a (very) in-depth look at what the GOOG is up to:
The search giant wants to remake the electricity grid—and do for power what it did for the web. But does it have the bandwidth for the job?
Every year, Google Inc. invites a group of global A-listers to its own Davos-style conference to think big thoughts. The event, called Zeitgeist, tends to be as pretentious as its name—captains of industry, finance, and government chattering onstage in front of about 400 of Google’s friends and customers about the fate of the internet and the world.
he 2008 version bordered on the surreal. The stock market was tanking, the bond market had flatlined, and the price of gold was surging to its biggest one-day jump in nearly a decade, an indication that investors everywhere thought the global economy was going to hell.
Yet here was Eric Schmidt, Google’s chairman and CEO, on a sparse stage at the company’s Mountain View, California, headquarters, in a green-energy love-in with his counterpart at General Electric Co., Jeff Immelt. The pair bathed in the glow of each other’s affirmation, convinced that the two companies, working together, can save the planet. ( View a graphic showing how much energy Google's own data centers use.)
“I don’t think this is hard,” Immelt said in response to a question from Al Gore, a Google groupie. “I’d say health care is hard. Solving the U.S.’s health-care system is actually quite difficult. Energy actually isn’t hard. The technology exists; it doesn’t have to be invented. It needs to be applied.… We make the gadgets—smart electric meters, things like that. People like Google can make the software, which makes the system. That’s the key to renewable energy.”>>>MORE