Google and the case of private islands that have become test 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: offer the company love and advice, but not harass it every day”, they explained. By leaving Sundar Pichai at the head 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 turned out that Larry Page has been devoting a large part of his resources to the acquisition of new land. But not just any. Contrary to to Bill Gates who became the largest landowner in the United States, the co-founder of Google leans more towards the desert islands of the Caribbean and the South Pacific. He would own “at least” 4 private islands, if not more. On these, several cases. The first, that of a hunt of more than 1000 goats, particularly embarrassing for the man who calls himself an ecologist. The second, that of 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 Sea). In the summer of 2020, the media reported that a hunt for an invasive species of goat had turned into a massacre with more than 1,000 animals killed in the space of a few months, with the agreement of the competent authorities. Since this story, the media have made their inquiries and shown to the general public that the island indeed 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 dollars. 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 scientist also had possession of the island of Eustatia. With its 14 hectares, it is one of the smallest islands in the archipelago of the British Virgin Islands. Already three properties in the portfolio of the co-founder of Google, but without the latter being assumed by the principal concerned. He never confirmed it publicly, and the secret seems very well kept on the side of the surrounding inhabitants. 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. Questioned, Wayne Osborne obviously did not respond to requests from journalists, but according to the media, even the identity of Larry Page would have even been hidden from the sellers during the negotiations.

Secret tests in the South Pacific

The other part of the globe where Larry Page became an owner is in the South Pacific. Here he acquired the famous heart-shaped island in the archipelago of Mamanuca, Fiji, called Tavarua. To acquire it, the co-founder of Google had to climb into the stake of a company that owns a 99-year lease on the island, still reveals Business Insider. All of this took place during the health crisis, and its participation would today 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 goes further. According to Business Insider, Larry Page has already conducted tests of new tech products on his islands, including Eustatia (Caribbean) with a flying car. Some joke about it, explaining that it’s just billionaire delusions eager to try new things to bridge their yacht and their private island, but Larry Page himself had spoken of his interest in finding safe places to test new technologies in the past. “I think as technologists we should have safe places where we can try new things and understand”he said in a question-and-answer session following his I/O conference in 2013.

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

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