Google sells ads, I haven't heard of them selling any info, and I suspect doing so would be illegal in many countries they operate in.
As to Musk being overhyped, he sold a game he programmed at age 12, was founder or co-founder of zip2, PayPal, spacex, tesla, and is credited with the concept of SolarCity. The only other person I can think of with that kind of diversity is Richard Branson. Maybe Paul Allen, but everything he's touched since Microsoft has failed. He certainly isn't always right, but he seems to have a knack for founding companies that work in areas that are just ahead of the curve.
That's not the only new image from Hubble today: NASA has also released the most high definition view of the Andromeda Galaxy that we've ever seen. Here's a web-friendly image, but that doesn't really do it justice. The full image is 69,536 px by 22,230 px. To see Andromeda in all its glory, visit the ESA's dedicated, zoomable site that contains all the image data. At the highest zoom levels, you can make out a mind-blowing number of individual stars. Andromeda is over 2 million light-years distant.
Stross also makes a more general proposition that's particularly interesting to me: "One of the failure modes of extrapolative SF is to assume that just because something is technologically feasible, it will happen. ... Someone has to want it enough to pay for it—and it will be competing with other, possibly more attractive options."
Consumers are already starting to buy the sort of gas-guzzling vehicles, including Hummers, that had been going out of style as gas prices rose; that's bad for both the environment and consumers, because gas prices are inevitably going to increase again. According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, taxes last year, even before the current drop in prices, made up 12 percent of the cost of a gallon of gasoline, down from 28 percent in 2000. And compared to other developed countries, US gas taxes are pretty much a joke. While we're at it, an even better idea, as a recent report from the Urban Institute makes clear, would be indexing the gas tax to inflation, so this problem doesn't consistently arise. "The status quo simply isn't sustainable, from an infrastructure or environmental perspective," concludes Garofalo. "So raise the gas tax now; someday down the line, it will look like a brilliant move."