Google has a habit of decorating its corporate offices with interesting, science-oriented objects. Its headquarters in Mountain View sport a model T-Rex skeleton and a SpaceShipOne replica, for example. But when it came to some papers authored by Alan Turing, Google offered to give $100,000 to support another entity's bid for ownership today.
Turing worked as a computer scientist and codebreaker at Bletchley Park during World War II, and a post on the Official Google Blog noted this morning, "Dr Turing is a hero to many of us at Google for his pioneering work on algorithms and the development of computer science. (He's also an important figure for many across the world who face homophobic attacks and bullying . . .)"
So when Christie's put some of Turing's papers up for auction, Google decided to support the modern Bletchley Park museum's bid for them rather than make its own grab or just sit back and watch.
As it turns out, that wasn't enough; no one met the minimum bid for the papers. And now it's unclear what will happen, as some private deal may be worked out.
Still, this episode is likely to earn Google PR points in more than a few circles, and given that $100,000 isn't much to a company with a market cap of around $185 billion, investors shouldn't be able to complain.