Google’s smart collection cuts deep into a new grade of life – Smart Life and it across Genetics, Artificial Intelligence, Vision, Connectivity Everywhere, Robotics, Energy, Aides, Smart Cars and more. Google has two key labs, Google Research and the X Lab. X does not employ your typical Silicon Valley personality. Google’s Research division is devoted mainly to computer science and Internet technologies.
The distinction is sometimes framed this way: Google Research is mostly bits; Google X is mostly atoms. In other words, X is tasked with making actual objects that interact with the physical world, which to a certain extent gives logical coherence to the four main projects that have so far emerged from X: driverless cars, Google Glass,high-altitude Wi-Fi balloons, and glucose-monitoring contact lenses.
Mostly, X seeks out people who want to build stuff, and who won’t get easily daunted. Inside the lab, now more than 250 employees strong, I met an idiosyncratic troupe of former park rangers, sculptors, philosophers, and machinists; one X scientist has won two Academy Awards for special effects. Teller himself has written a novel, worked in finance, and earned a PhD in artificial intelligence. One recent hire spent five years of his evenings and weekends building a helicopter in his garage. It actually works, and he flew it regularly, which seems insane to me. But his technology skillsalone did not get him the job. The helicopter did.
“The classic definition of an expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing,” says DeVaul. “And people like that can be extremely useful in a very focused way. But these are really not X people. What we want, in a sense, are people who know less and less about more and more.”