Google X: The lab of dreams

By on November 15, 2011
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Google’s very own Skunk Works lab.

We all know about Google’s primary business of search engine and other web services like email, and, of course, other side projects like Android OS for smartphones and Chromebooks. Outside of their core internet based services, Google also dabbles in other aspects of technology, such as their fully automated self-driving car. What about other technologies that some would say goes well into science fiction territory, like space elevators? Or refrigerators that order groceries fro you as the supply runs low?

Developed at Google X?

According to New York Times, Google does indeed have a secret lab where they are testing “a list of 100 shoot-for-the-stars ideas.” Most of the ideas are still in conceptual stage, although two of the people close to the projects say that one of the products will be released by the end of this year. The lab is such a secret project, that many employees within Google don’t even know of its existence. One engineer reported that there are, in fact, two offices of Google X. There’s one office for logistical support within the Google’s Mountain View campus, and one for robots, in some undisclosed location.

Sergey Brin, one of the co-founder’s of Google, is apparent;ly closely involved with the lab, according to several people who have knowledge of the secret lab. “Where I spend my time is farther afield projects, which we hope will graduate to important key businesses in the future,” Mr. Brin said recently, although he didn’t mention Google X specifically.

According to NYTimes, “the lab is filled with roboticists and electrical engineers. They have been hired from Microsoft, Nokia Labs, Stanford, M.I.T., Carnegie Mellon and New York University.”

“These moon-shot projects are a very Google-y thing for them to do,” said Colin W. Gillis, an analyst at BGC Partners. “People don’t love it but they tolerate it because their core search business is firing away.”

“While the possibilities are incredibly exciting, please do keep in mind that the sums involved are very small by comparison to the investments we make in our core businesses,” said Jill Hazelbaker, Google’s spokeswoman.

Time will tell what sort of experiments are being cooked up in Google X, and how significantly, if at all, they will affect our lifestyle in the future.


About

From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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