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I'm slightly surprised that nobody in the thread has identified the most likely explanation for this - I'd say Google have bought Makani Power to impress Greenpeace. When people like myself go on about the "Green lobby" being pretty powerful and influential, we're not joking.
Greenpeace runs an activity called the "Cool IT Leaderboard", where it gives a ranking for how Green-leaning an IT firm is. The ranking is based on scores allocated in three categories: current and future investment in green solutions (40 percent of the total), emissions and energy consumption (25 percent), and environmental political advocacy (35 percent). Google were top of the leaderboard in 2012, and an acquisition like Makani Power might be enough to get it the top position again this year. More details of the Cool IT Leaderboard idea are given in this Wired magazine article:
I still don't trust Google and today there is a new reason...
And Windows has the ability to use the web cam to count heads in an audience watching a downloaded movie, for example.
But one wonders just how much the computer, our window on the modern world, is actually capable of being some one else's window on our private world. Or rather, to what extent it already is.
Like most people, I have some presence on the web. I am here, and on some blogs, I have my business web site but I avoid like the plague which it is) "social networking" sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Some employers now routinely investigative job applicants Facebook pages and employers also now look at the activities of existing employees.
Once IT would be reporting employee behaviour on the internet; unauthorised work time visits to porn sites, their visits to online recruitment services, but now they also watch for facebook and twitter activity. Yesterday it was reported that someone was fired for using his own Ipod to access and post on facebook (or something).
Now this is all access to readily accessible information.
But between them, between Google, Windows, McAffee etc. they have access to far greater data and how much of it can they or should they be trusted with?
How much trust in a provider that outsources policing to a third world country where the few dollars the workers make is peanuts compared to the money they can make, based on the access to users passwords, personal data etc.? how much duty of care is shown by such companies?
Oh, many make a show of holding back government or legitimate access, but what can they do or are they doing with all that data?
And now the government wants to read our emails, listen to our phone calls.
See what websites we visit? Oh yes, anti-terrorism justifications give them the plausible "its for your own good" excuse but we've seen before just how local government has interpreted these laws to try and catch us overfilling bins and all sorts of activities that have nothing to do with terrorism.
I don't trust governments.
Why should I trust any of these money making DotComs?
Why should any of us?
Is your web cam really off?
Is your microphone doing nothing?
How can we know?
The computers is fast becoming or already is a trojan horse which allows anyone and everyone open access to your private life.
ANd on Dave's last post, maybe the Greenies are the ones using the trojan horse right now.
Further to my previous post, I just checked Greenpeace's website and it turns out they have already released a new edition (6th edition) of the Cool IT Leaderboard for 2013 back in April. [This leaderboard is announced at roughly yearly intervals - 5th edition in Feb 2012, 4th edition in Dec 2010, 3rd edition in May 2010; the use of non-uniform time intervals presumably increases the potential for Greenpeace to play the Green-leaning IT firms off against each other].
In the latest edition of the leaderboard, Google ties for overall first place with Cisco, the scores for Google being: Overall 58/100 1st place, made up of: Climate solutions 17/40 7th place, IT energy impact 19/25 3rd place, Political advocacy 22/35 1st place.
"Google’s continued advocacy for clean energy and willingness to put its money where its mouth is helps keep it atop the CooI IT Leaderboard for the second year in a row, gaining 5 points from last year’s total to earn a first place tie with Cisco."
The acquisition of Makani Power was announced as a news story a few weeks after April 2013, but I would imagine the acquisition did not take place overnight, it may have been underway for several months and could have influenced the decision by Greenpeace to award Google joint first place.
Relax, everyone. This is why we have the whole capitalism, free market thingy. If someone with surplus money wants to stick their cash into some venture, good luck to them. If they can get it to fly, we are all better off. If, as more likely, they can't get it off the ground, they've wasted their money not mine.
Far better than the current approach to renewables, which is to tack on a huge and unavoidable tax to electricity to pay for stuff because we know it isn't (yet) working.
Maybe the purchase wasn't what it seemed. This seems unrelated, but I am pretty sure we can make a tether that supports multi gigabit data transfer.