Google CEO Larry Page once mentioned in a public speech the need for a safe place for the technology industry to try new things out, without interferences and rules. Some people thought of it as a fantasy for the future, like a far desert island where robots can roam freely.
However, in a news article in Mercury News, Page already has Google X, the clandestine works where scientists of Google get the needed resources and are free to work on things like self-driving cars, flying-power generators, and balloons connected to the Internet.
While other companies trim research budgets, and let the core business be in focus, Google X is pursuing many unusual ideas. While much of the works are hush-hush, X projects that are already publicly announced may push the project team even further for endeavors like industrial robotics, high-tech home thermostats, and super fast fiber networks.
Enderle Group analyst Rob Enderle said there are a lot of weird stuff at Google X. The X division resides in two nondescript buildings near the main campus of Google. It is comparable to the chocolate factory of Willy Wonka, according to Eric Teller, the man who runs it daily. Teller is a scientist and entrepreneur who reports to Sergey Brin, the Google co-founder. Teller once spoke of his staff as, "Peter Pans with Ph.D.s."
Teller, nicknamed "Astro" by teenage friends who thought of his spiky hair as an artificial field, is the grandson of the late Edward Teller, a physicist. As X head, he is known as "Captain of Moonshots".
In a speech a year earlier, Teller said that they understand the mission of Google X – to think audaciously and incubate magic to carry out X's goal to impact the world, and making money is something to worry about later. Such message is typical of Page and Brin. When they were grad students, the Google co-founders built the search engine, and as they enter their middle age, the passion for science fiction-sounding ideas still remains.
In an interview, Teller shared a question of where Google is heading towards, from now and a decade or more in the future. His reply was that Google X is not the sole answer, but it is built as an exploration place to find great problems for the team to tackle.