Google Inc. said Wednesday to that it would work on new technology with NASA and build a 1-million-square-foot campus at the space agency’s Ames Research Center, near the Internet company’s Mountain View headquarters.
Google’s plan to add space comes as the company is hiring more people, adding products and courting advertisers to compete with Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. Google raised $4.18 billion in a stock sale this month, taking advantage of its surging share price, and now has about $7 billion in cash.
“This is a historic day in public-private R&D; partnerships,” Ames Director Scott Hubbard said at a news conference where he and Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt signed an agreement with lighted pens. “The future of space exploration has just changed.”
The company will keep its current locations and continue to lease offices elsewhere. Google leases 915,000 square feet at its headquarters and has offices in 35 cities around the world, according to its annual filing. The company had 3,021 employees as of December, up from 1,628 a year earlier.
“We plan on being a very, very embedded partner with NASA,” Schmidt said, though details of Google’s physical presence on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration site have not yet been worked out.
Google said the campus could include offices, laboratories, classrooms, housing and other facilities.
Hubbard said Google would help NASA with information management, analyzing the huge amount of data the organization collects. Google in turn will benefit by having access to “the best scientists” in the world, Schmidt said.
“We have the reach and the network resources that NASA does not,” Schmidt said. “They have the science, content and the mission to serve all of us.”