HERE COMES GOOGLE X
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."