Light bulbs that connect to the internet? Elevators that reach into space? Robots that show up for work in your place?
These are a few of about 100 ideas that Google is reportedly toying with inside Google X, the name of a “top-secret lab” somewhere in the Bay Area. The New York Times wrote about it this weekend after speaking to a dozen people that are aware of the project.
According to the Times, robots (and I don’t mean the .txt file) play a big part in Google X:
Robots figure prominently in many of the ideas. They have long captured the imagination of Google engineers, including Mr. Brin, who has already attended a conference through robot instead of in the flesh.
Fleets of robots could assist Google with collecting information, replacing the humans that photograph streets for Google Maps, say people with knowledge of Google X. Robots born in the lab could be destined for homes and offices, where they could assist with mundane tasks or allow people to work remotely, they say.
Though many of the projects are secret, the Times article mentions a couple that we’ve written about before. Those automated, driverless cars are being developed in Google X; the Times says Google is thinking about manufacturing them and using them to show ads to passengers inside.
A Google spokeswoman emphasized to the Times that Google’s financial investments in these projects “are very small by comparison” to the company’s investment in its core products.
Although most of the projects are highly conceptual, the Times found two sources who said at least one of the ideas would be released by the end of this year.
(In case the small print on the image above is too small, that’s not a real/official Google X logo. It’s an image of our own making.)