Re: What Google wants.. Google gets.
Actually, from the bean counters' perspective, it's the only smart way to capture technology. There are almost always a number of ways to solve the problem, but if you explore it with your own researchers, most of the ways you try are going to be duds. Actually, you can be sure that all but one of them will be inferior to the best solution. Therefore, most of your investment in real research will be wasted.
Much better to let the little guys try out the various solutions. Yeah, your big company needs some so-called researchers to evaluate the solutions. The most important thing nowadays is to recognize the good candidates and get a foothold in those doors, but that's mostly to make sure your big company can buy out the winning technology once you're sure they've gotten enough of the bugs out of it.
Google used to be different and used to be much more creative with their own technologies. Once they reached the critical mass, they stopped having to worry about it so much. The critical mass is actually when your company is big enough to say: "Either you sell out to us now, or we will crush you. We have the resources to dominate the new market even if we have to use second- or third-best solutions, and you have already proven it is possible because your technology works, so you might as well surrender now [Dorothy]." The rest is just haggling over the price, but the google can afford to be generous.
In the name of freedom, this should be illegal, but guess who wrote the rules of the game? It wasn't the butler in the kitchen with the carving knife. It was the most cheaply bribed professional politicians working for the greediest and least ethical big businessmen.