Google X – Corporate R&D That Dares to Think Big

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Google's driverless Prius.

Google's driverless Prius.

Driverless cars, space elevators, Internet-enabled refrigerators that order groceries. The New York Times reports on Google’s super-secret research and development laboratory, Google X. It’s nice to see a company daring to think big and doing the kinds of R&D that puts the emphasis on the research. With the rise of state-sponsored industrial espionage originating in China and Eastern Europe it’s no wonder Google wants to keep this place secret.

From the Times:

 At most Silicon Valley companies, innovation means developing online apps or ads, but Google sees itself as different. Even as Google has grown into a major corporation and tech start-ups are biting at its heels, the lab reflects its ambition to be a place where ground-breaking research and development are happening, in the tradition of Xerox PARC, which developed the modern personal computer in the 1970s.

A Google spokeswoman, Jill Hazelbaker, declined to comment on the lab, but said that investing in speculative projects was an important part of Google’s DNA. “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,” she said.

At Google, which uses artificial intelligence techniques and machine learning in its search algorithm, some of the outlandish projects may not be as much of a stretch as they first appear, even though they defy the bounds of the company’s main Web search business.

Read the story.

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