Like most high-tech companies, Google is highly secretive—one of the reasons Brad Stone’s glimpse at the company’s secret lab for Bloomberg makes for great reading. Here’s a taste:

Since its creation in 2010, Google has kept X largely hidden from view. Over the past month, Bloomberg Businessweek spoke to many of X’s managers and project leaders, who work with abundant resources and few of the constraints that smothered similar corporate research efforts in the past. “Anything which is a huge problem for humanity we’ll sign up for, if we can find a way to fix it,” Teller says.

Google X seeks to be an heir to the classic research labs, such as the ­Manhattan Project, which created the first atomic bomb, and Bletchley Park, where code breakers cracked German ciphers and gave birth to modern cryptography. After the war, the spirit of these efforts was captured in pastoral corporate settings: AT&T’s (T) Bell Labs and Xerox (XRX) PARC, for example, became synony­mous with breakthroughs (the transistor and the personal computer among them) and the inability of each company to capitalize on them.

Stone’s full piece is definitely worth checking out.