Consumer group SLAMS NASA for letting Google rent $1bn 'playground'
Mountain View gets 60-year lease on historic Moffett Airfield
A consumer watchdog has slammed NASA for signing a whopping $1bn deal that will see a historic airbase turned into Google's space "playground".
Mountain View has inked a deal with the space agency which will see it rent Moffett Federal Airfield for 60 years.
The massive site is home to the Ames Research Center, where the Kepler space observatory mission was designed and planned.
But now much of the land has been rented out to Planetary Ventures, LLC, a shadowy company owned by Google.
An American non-profit body — Consumer Watchdog — has criticised the decision to hang over the lease to the Chocolate Factory and its oompah-loompahs.
"The lease gives Google unprecedented control of a federal facility to use as its own playground,” said John M. Simpson, director of the body's Privacy Project.
Google currently parks its private jets at Moffett Airfield, which is conveniently located near its Mountain View headquarters. Last year, a Senate investigation found that NASA was handing Google cheap fuel for its corporate jets — a deal struck by the Pentagon itself.
“This is like giving the keys to your car to the guy who has been siphoning gas from your tank,” added Simpson. "These Google guys seem to think they can do whatever they want and get away with it – and, sadly, it looks like that is true.”
Google looks set to test driverless cars at Moffett, which would allow it to neatly sidestep Californian rules requiring a human driver to be inside any automated vehicle in case of emergency.
As part of the deal, Google has vowed to renovate the historic Hangar One, which will then be used to research space exploration, aviation, robotics, and other new technologies.
The hanger is one of the world's largest freestanding structures and is so cavernous that blimps could float in and out, barely touching the sides.
The Google-owned Planetary Ventures plans to invest more than $200m in sprucing up the airfield.
“We look forward to rolling up our sleeves to restore the remarkable landmark Hangar One, which for years has been considered one of the most endangered historic sites in the United States,” said David Radcliffe, vice president of real estate and workplace services at Google .
So can Google really get away with doing anything it wants?
Happily, the answer is no, because Mountain View's greatest ruse has not yet come to pass. It wants everyone in the whole world to strap on Glass and happily spend their days chanting "ok Google" and video recording every single moment of their bleak existence.
According to Juniper, Glassholes haven't achieved "social acceptance" yet and are unlikely to sell in very high numbers any time soon. ®