For years and years, Google has been slowly evolving into an Internet monster that looks pretty on the outside but will be quick to swallow you whole without thought or remorse, kind of like a Venus flytrap. For the past two weeks, however, Google seems to have turned a new leaf and have been kind-hearted. They have even been somewhat humorous. Who knew that Google had a sense of humor hiding behind those grimacing red and yellow O's?
Last week, we covered Google's support of equality and LGBT causes. This week, Larry Page and company showed a little bit of their funny bone at the auction for Nortel Networks' wireless patents.
What happened and why is it funny? We talk about it after the break.
At what turned out to be a bidding war for these patents, Google broke out numbers like $1,902,160,540 and $2,614,972,128. To some, that may seem like ridiculous numbers thrown out of nowhere, but for others like geeks and mathematical wizards at MIT, these numbers are Brun's constant and Meissel-Mertens constant.
Sources close to the matter said,
Google was bidding with numbers that were not even numbers.
It became clear that they were bidding with the distance between the earth and the sun. One was the sum of a famous mathematical constant, and then when it got to $3 billion, they bid pi.
You heard right. Once the bid got up to $3 billion, $3.14159 billion was Google's next bid. That's just awesome; too bad it wasn't on Pi Day.
Google's reasons behind these numbers are unknown. What sucks is the fact that whether it was to be funny, they were bored or they wanted to scare off or even confuse buyers, the scheme didn't work, and they ended up losing the auction of 6,000 of Nortel's patents at $4.5 billion to the collective of Apple, Microsoft (together again?), RIM, EMC and Sony Ericsson.
Google started it off in April when they set the bid at $900 million, expecting to win it outright. However this week saw 20 rounds and 4 days of auctioning madness that resulted in a loss for the hopeful Internet overlords.
Despite the loss, the fact remains that Google was pretty funny and kind of awesome by putting in bids like this. Now if only we can redirect their attention to something a little more useful than a second-rate second attempt at a social network. A man can dream, you know.