When a fledgling search engine startup rapidly grows into a multi-billion dollar corporation and the envy of every tech company in the world, how does it stay innovative? At Google X, ideas as far-fetched sounding as coffee pots that brew remotely and elevators that can ascend into space are amongst a list of 100 ideas being tackled by Google engineers and roboticists who hope they can imagine the future.
As reported by the New York Times, about a dozen people were interviewed confirming the existence of this secret operation. Google spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker downplayed the hype: “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.”
While acknowledging stockholder’s concern for the company’s ventures, it’s another reminder that Google is not like most companies. Just when you thought you’ve heard the last Google product, the company isn’t sitting on its hands waiting to deliver the next big thing.
One of the ideas currently being worked on may be already familiar with some of you: the self-driving car (Watch the video here). Debut during TED 2011, Google is considering manufacturing the cars in the U.S., with information technology integrated into the vehicles. For example, the cars could utilize location-based technology to show ads to passengers as they drive by local businesses. Yup, hate ’em or love ’em. Ads will follow you wherever you go.
The NYT’s also noted an interesting concept behind the goals of the lab:
Other ideas involve what Google referred to as the “Web of things” at its software developers conference in May — a way of connecting objects to the Internet. Every time anyone uses the Web, it benefits Google, the company argued, so it could be good for Google if home accessories and wearable objects, not just computers, were connected.
Sounds like something eerily reminiscent of Ray Bradbury’s The Murderer. But I digress.
Whilst most of these ideas are purely conceptual at this stage and may never see the light of day, it will be exciting to see what comes out of it in the years ahead. According to two individuals involved with the project, at least one of the products would be released at the end of the year although no further details were provided. Shivers just went down my spine.
What do you hope Google will build next? Let me know in the comments section below!