Google and the case of private islands that have become testing laboratories

Larry Page and Sergey Brin created Google in 1998 and the Alphabet group in 2015. Since 2019, the two have distanced themselves from Big tech to take “the time to assume our role as fulfilled parents: give the business love and advice, but don’t harass it every day”, they explained. Leaving Sundar Pichai at the helm of the group, the two co-founders have moved away from public life to take advantage of their time … and their money. A new life that is not without twists, fantasies and intrigues. To the point of attracting investigative journalists and justice, in the middle of nowhere.

Since 2014, it has emerged that Larry Page has spent a large portion of his resources on acquiring new land. But not just any. Unlike Bill Gates, who has become the largest landowner in the United States, the Google co-founder leans more towards the deserted islands of the Caribbean and the South Pacific. He wanted to own “at least” 4 private islands if not more. On these several cases. The first, a hunt for more than 1000 goats, particularly embarrassing for the man who calls himself an ecologist. The second, the hypothesis of technological tests out of sight. A James Bond story.

The goat slaughter case

The first story takes place on a small island in St. Thomas Bay, on one of the US Virgin Islands (Caribbean). In the summer of 2020, the media reported that a hunt for an invasive goat species had turned into a massacre with more than 1,000 animals killed in a few months, with the consent of the competent authorities. Since this story, the media have made their inquiries and shown to the general public that the island actually belonged to the co-founder of Google, Larry Page. He had acquired it six years earlier, when he was still working with Google, for the sum of $23 million. The island is called Hans Lollik and came in a bundle that also included a smaller island next to it called Little Hans Lollik.

Later, more than 60 kilometers from these two islands, the media discovered that the computer log also had possession of the island of Eustatia. At 14 hectares, it is one of the smallest islands in the British Virgin Islands archipelago. Already three properties in the portfolio of the co-founder of Google, but without the latter being taken over by the principal in question. He never confirmed it publicly and the secret seems very well kept on the side of the surrounding residents. Among them a certain Richard Branson, the owner of the Virgin group, who does not seek to be discreet for his part.

To sign the contracts, Page is said to have gone through a limited liability company called Virgin Island Properties LLC. As for the negotiations, everything would have gone through Wayne Osborne, CEO of Larry Page’s family office, which manages the billionaire’s assets, reveals Business Insider. When asked, Wayne Osborne apparently did not respond to inquiries from reporters, but according to the media, even Larry Page’s identity would even have been hidden from the sellers during the negotiations.

Secret tests in the South Pacific

The other part of the globe where Larry Page became the owner is in the South Pacific. Here he acquired the famous heart-shaped island in the Mamanuca archipelago, Fiji, called Tavarua. To acquire it, the co-founder of Google had to climb into a company that owns a 99-year lease on the island, still reveals Business Insider. All this took place during the health crisis and today its participation would be more than 51%. Enough to allow him to make decisions, such as equipping an entire complex with school panels and Tesla power supplies, to install “more sustainable island homes”read an Instagram post from the resort.

The plot moves on. According to Business Insider, Larry Page has already conducted tests of new technological products on his islands, including Eustatia (Caribbean) with a flying car. Some joke that it’s just delusional billionaires eager to try new things to bridge the gap between their yacht and their private island, but Larry Page himself had previously spoken of his interest in finding safe places to test new technologies. “I think that as technologists we should have safe places where we can try new things and understand”he said in a question-and-answer session after his 2013 I/O conference.

The islands around Tavarua in the South Pacific are enough to drive the point home. From the name Wadigi, a neighboring island was bought almost at the same time by an anonymous person whose address is none other than Palo Alto, California. Again, it is through a family office that the hidden billionaire went on sale. It turns out that he has reportedly worked with YouTube VP Salar Kamangar before.

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