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Google Casts a Wide Net

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Google Casts a Wide Net

Tracking the investments of the world's go-to search engine.

Google has more than $44 billion cash on hand - that's a whole lot of change the Internet behemoth could spend how its leaders see fit. In the past several years, Google has spent billions on companies, research and projects ranging from YouTube to wind power.

Luna X Prize

- Google has pledged $30 million in prizes to the first privately funded team that can put a robot on the moon. The deadline recently was pushed back to December 2015, so get working on your lunar rovers.

Clean energy

- Google has invested more than $350 million in wind farms in California, North Dakota, and Oregon, where the company last year pledged $100 million in what is planned to be the world's largest wind farm.

Government Lobbyists

- Google outspends all tech companies in lobbying lawmakers and contributing to political campaigns. The company spent $10 million on such activities in 2011.

Fiber Optic in Kansas City

- That's Kansas City, Kansas. Google's planned experiment to wire a city with high-speed fiber optics could see the company spending more than $800 million in Kansas City. The project is ongoing.

Motorola Mobility

- Motorola Mobility, one of 39 manufacturers of Android handsets, is part of Google's plan "to supercharge the Android ecosystem." Google made the $12.5 billion purchase in August 2011.


- Google bought YouTube in 2006 for what was then a shocking $1.65 billion. YouTube continues to function as a Google subsidiary.

Online Coupons

- RetailMeNot, the world's largest online coupon provider, got a boost from Google. The site boasts about 230 millions users.


- Google put its money behind the growing vacation rental site. Neither side has said how much Google gave, but HomeAway in the past couple of years has bought more than a dozen other vacation rental websites.

Driverless Cars

- Google has spent about $20 million so far on research into robotically equipped vehicles. Such cars are legal only in 1 state - Nevada.


- Google's attempt to put a dent in Facebook's domination of the Internet, the social networking site Google+ has grown to nearly 100 million users since it was launched in the summer of 2011. Estimages suggest Google has spent $700 million on the project.