Is Google taking over the universe? By Michael Bazeley, Mercury News

In a short, seven-day span recently, Google revealed plans to partner with
NASA on research, offered to provide free WiFi to the city of San Francisco and announced it would collaborate with Sun Microsystems in creating desktop software for office workers.

Seemingly every week brings a new announcement from the Mountain View Googleplex, each one bigger than the last and each provoking wide-eyed speculation -- and confusion -- about the 7-year-old company's ambitions.

Collectively, Google's unexpected ventures have elevated it into perhaps the most talked-about and influential company in the tech world. What Microsoft was to the PC era, Google is to the Internet era.

Speculation about its future abounds. Will Google blanket the Earth with free WiFi so it can serve targeted advertising to people and entice them into using its services? Will it upend Microsoft's business by releasing a Web-based competitor to Office? Is it headed to the moon?

``Their company mission is to organize all the world's information,'' said Peter Weck, chief technology officer with job search site Simply Hired. ``They take that seriously and in the broadest sense.''