There is apparently a secret lab somewhere in the San Francisco bay area that is host to a Google Skunk works where they are working on all kinds of secret projects to help humanity. Some involving robots, and something that sounds like a space elevator. A space elevator that could data mine the solar system instead of the planet. As well as driver-less cars to make our roads safer by getting rid of dangerous hoon drivers that endanger other road users. A space elevator would be a boon to the Chinese and Indian conquest of space, one place to build it would be somewhere along the equator in the ocean, with the cable anchored to an oil rig. The cable would be 36,000 kilometres long and it would enable lifting payloads into space without rockets benefiting the environment and making space travel cheaper. Driver-less cars could be programmed to follow electronics embedded in the roadway that tell them where to go as well as using GPS technology. A computer driven car would not suffer driver fatigue and could drive for long distances, only stopping to allow the passengers to take toilet breaks and to stop at food vendors for refreshment. You could watch a DVD or Television whilst you were being ferried to and fro from home to work or school or whatever your destination.
Space elevators have been around in Science Fiction for many years, Arthur C Clarke wrote about them in the book Fountains of Paradise where the humans built a space elevator into space that was anchored to a mountain. In the Red Mars, Green Mars & Blue Mars series by Kim Stanley Robinson a space elevator using a cable 10 metres thick is constructed by the human setters on Mars, it is demolished and then re-built by the humans. Eventually one is constructed on the Earth as well. The earthlings desperately needed a solution to the overpopulation of the Earth and decided to move to Mars, but the rate of emigration was too small to compensate for population growth and they decided to send a star-ship into deep space instead to find another planet to populate. Eventually the planet Mercury is populated and the Moons of Uranus, which is somehow converted to a mini-sun to give light and heat to the Moons that would otherwise be far to cold for human habitation. The conditions that far out in the solar system are brutal and everything you can do to make it better for your potential tenants the better. Many planets could be more easily settled if we had a space elevator that could lift people and equipment into orbit using far less power than a rocket can.
And the launches up the cable could be more frequent and would not be dependent on perfect weather as the Space Shuttle was. Sure driver-less cars are cool, but a space elevator is even cooler when you think about it. Google have made Billions of dollars from their successful search engine and many other ventures they have invested their money and time into. So I believe they can pull this off and build the future with extreme engineering. If only Google had the money to build the X Seed 4000, a 4,000 meter tall city that is shaped like a cone with 800 floors. This would dwarf any other structure on earth and would be a huge statement to the rest of the world to what the Japanese could construct. There was a web page that had information about a 3 mile tall building, but I can not find it now. So let us now worship our Google overlords as they construct the future.