Google may have been in talks with a startup in Seattle, called HyperSciences, prior to its decision to acquire Geo-Connections and fold that into the Google X spin-off, Dandelion. That's according to some mysterious statements made by HyperSciences CEO Mark Russell prior to the deal being made, which were later officially retracted by the company. The executive reportedly commented approximately a week ago to say that the companies were in talks but that more information wouldn't become available until the South by Southwest festival, which takes place this week in Austin. Unfortunately, when HyperSciences was contacted on March 5 to confirm the talks, the company went on record to say that there were no ongoing talks between Google and HyperSciences. Dandelion's Geo-Connections acquisition was made on March 6, so it's entirely possible that the two companies were in talks but that a decision was reached and talks came to an end.
Leaks about possible partnerships are generally speculative at best but what makes this interesting is that the initial "leak" actually originated with HyperSciences' CEO. A leak from a high-up executive tends to add a substantial amount of weight to such claims and, more often than not, can be taken at face value. The idea that talks may have been underway would make sense since both companies are currently investing heavily in geothermal energy solutions and technology. More directly, HyperSciences is working to create new drilling systems that center around firing concrete projectiles at hypersonic speeds – more than 5 times the speed of sound – as a supplement to a more traditional drill bit. That makes the earth in front of the bit much easier to move through and the company says it works up to ten times faster than existing systems. That's an interesting idea that may have proved useful to aid in Google's own geothermal ambitions.
Whatever the case may be, Google's Dandelion is currently working with Geo-Connections' software suite to improve the reliability of its own offerings. The general focus of Dandelion is on creating affordable geothermal heating, cooling, and ventilation, and the software will assist in managing the hardware and underground infrastructure associated with that enterprise.