Google has always been an ambitious company. You have to just listen to one of their WiFi stories and you know what I mean. So I wasn’t really surprised when Larry Page announced in January that they would team up with the one and only Sir Richard Branson. Especially since Branson had told us earlier that he wanted to use the web for his green crusade. “It’s an exciting project”, said mr. Branson back then. “Page also hopes to devote money to renewable energy, and that’s an area in which we’ll definitely collaborate.” The project was named Virgle.
Ok, so today is April 1st. A few weeks ago, Boris and I were driving back from PLUGG in Brussels and we talked about organizing an April 1st joke. ‘Why not use that domain Virgle.com?”, Boris asked. We came up with a plan, and we’re planning on writing about how Virgle was sold to Google and Branson. Yet due to the busy times and preparations for the Next Web Conference (only two days left!) this plan never made it to the drawing table.
In the end that doesn’t really matter, since Branson and Page have decided to use Virgle for an April’s fool themselves! Branson wrote an article on the official Google Blog at 12:01 am today, saying:
In my life, I’ve had a lot of exciting adventures and launched a lot of ambitious business ventures. I’m delighted today to announce Virgle, Inc., a joint venture between the Virgin Group and Google which qualifies on both counts. Virgle’s goal is simple: the establishment of a permanent human settlement on Mars.
The guys from Google are taking the joke pretty far, at least one employee must have worked on this project for a week considering the extensive plan they’ve designed. It comes down to this though:
In the years to come, we’ll be sending up a series of spaceships carrying (along with the supplies and tools needed to build the new colony) what eventually will be hundreds of Mars colonists, or Virgle Pioneers — myself among them.
Truth be told, I’m glad we didn’t use Virgle for April’s fool. We couldn’t have done such a neat job like Page and Branson did. Enjoy the hysteria guys.