Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Inside Google Labs

Cool beans (Businessweek):

As the polymath engineers and scientists who work there are fond of saying, Google X is the search giant’s factory for moonshots, those million-to-one scientific bets that require generous amounts of capital, massive leaps of faith, and a willingness to break things. Google X (the official spelling is Google [x]) is home to the self-driving car initiative and the Internet-connected eyeglasses, Google Glass, among other improbable projects.[...]

Teller has turned his sky’s-the-limit thinking into Google X’s most visible export. Last March he spoke at the South By Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Tex., telling a packed auditorium, “The world is not limited by IQ. We are all limited by bravery and creativity.” Last year, with longtime Google executive Megan Smith, he co-founded the company’s annual, invitation-only conference, Solve for X, a two-and-a-half-day gathering of a hundred or so big thinkers. At the recent session in February at CordeValle, a golf resort south of San Jose, speakers covered topics such as inflatable robots, eye examinations that can detect the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and nuclear fusion reactors. “There is really only one guarantee and that is if we don’t try, nothing is going to happen,” said Charles Chase, a senior program manager for Lockheed Martin’s (LMT) advanced development program, Skunk Works, who gave the fusion talk.

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