HERE COMES GOOGLE X

HWM (Singapore) - - Think - BY ALVIN SOON

Google X be­gan with Google co-founder Larry Page and Stan­ford com­puter sci­en­tist Sebastian Thrun. The two met at the 2005 DARPA Grand Chal­lenge, and two years later Thrun joined Google to help with its Street View map­ping project.

In early 2009, Thrun started the self-driv­ing car project at Google, which pro­duced a car that nav­i­gated the streets of LA, Sil­i­con Val­ley and San Fran­cisco by it­self. Thrilled by the project’s suc­cess, Thrun, Page and Google co-founder Sergey Brin founded Google X in 2010, a pure re­search lab fo­cus­ing on tech­nolo­gies be­yond Google’s usual scope (the of­fi­cial name is Google[x]).

To­day, Astro Teller (real name: Eric Teller) runs Google X as its di­rec­tor, Thrun hav­ing left in 2012. Teller holds a Ph.D. in ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence from Carnegie Mellon Univer­sity, and is a grand­son of Gérard De­breu, a No­bel Prize-win­ning econ­o­mist, and Ed­ward Teller, a the­o­ret­i­cal physi­cist known as ‘the fa­ther of the hy­dro­gen bomb.’ Larry Page be­came Google’s CEO in late 2011, and Sergey Brin re­mains im­mersed in Google X.

It was Teller who summed up Google X’s rai­son d'etre as a com­pany that takes moon­shots; goals in “that place be­tween au­da­cious projects and pure sci­ence fic­tion” akin to the first am­bi­tious project to land hu­mans on the moon. It’s ru­mored that the lab has a list of 100 projects on hand to­day, in­clud­ing out­landish ones like a neu­ral net­work, a space el­e­va­tor and fly­ing wind tur­bines. Here are the three big­gest projects which have grad­u­ated out of Google X into the real world.

"It’s ru­mored that the lab has a list of 100 projects on hand to­day, in­clud­ing out­landish ones like a neu­ral net­work, a space el­e­va­tor and fly­ing wind tur­bines."

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