It's interesting to look at how Google spends its money. Does it just have so much cash that it can't find a good way to invest it? Or are these "moon shots" good business? Or are the founders using the company as a piggy bank to play around with? Should this money be paid out to shareholders?
Look at the technology landscape today and what do you see? A few companies -- Facebook, Yahoo, Apple, Twitter and Google -- competing for the same sorts of revenue: advertising, search, location and some mobile hardware.
Now look into the future of the technology landscape and what do you see? I'll answer that for you: Google, Google and Google.
Over the last year alone Google has acquired more than a dozen tech hardware outfits working on projects that might seem crazy today, but could be part of our not-too-distant future.
Let's look at just a small collection of Google's recent acquisitions. There have been several humanoid robot-makers, including Boston Dynamics, which makes two- and four-legged machines that walk and run with an uncanny sense of balance. Then there was Holomni, a small design firm that makes high-tech robotic wheels, presumably for more robots, or even Google's fleet of driverless cars. And the acquisition of Makani Power, which makes airborne wind turbines, for, well, who knows how Google will use those?
Yet many of its competitors seem to be stuck in the present. Look at Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter's acquisitions, all of which have purchased a lot of software, design, advertising and content companies. No robots. No self-driving cars. No wind turbines.
It's unclear where Apple fits into all of this -- the company, is, after all, better at keeping secrets than the National Security Agency. Apple also clearly has the money to compete with Google.