Google may go from Google Glass to Google Robot
Search giant risks losing focus on core search business as it moves into another new market
Computerworld - Google, the worldwide leader in online search, is also the company behind the dominant Android mobile platform, Google Glass wearable technology and the Google Maps app. Are Google Robots the next move?
That's right. Google today confirmed to Computerworld that it's been buying up robotics companies for the past six months as part of an effort to develop its own robotics technology.
As first reported today in the New York Times, Google is developing robotic technology for use by its manufacturing operation, which conducts electronics assembly among other things.
Google officials told the newspaper that the robotics effort will be led by Andy Rubin, the man behind the creation and worldwide adoption of Google's wildly successful Android software.
Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, says it's not surprising that a company like Google would seek to venture far afield from its core technology, in this case Internet search tools. The company has already moved into several new businesses, including browsers, Chromebook computers, mapping software, autonomous cars and computerized eyeglasses.
"I expected Google to ultimately get into robots, as it's not too far from an autonomous vehicle, only more flexible in its use cases," said Moorhead. The technology used to make "a very good robot would be similar to that in a super-sophisticated autonomous vehicle."
While he adds that Google risks losing focus by continuing to go far afield from the core search business, the company can easily use some of its existing technology in the new products.
"Technologies behind search and targeted advertising can play a part in robotics," said Moorhead. "Object recognition can be used by a robot and for visual search. Google Now uses predictive analytics to determine what you want to see and when you want to see it, and can also be used by robots to become more autonomous."
Nonetheless, Google must walk a fine line between taking risks and getting lost in the weeds.
"Google risks losing focus, particularly if they get too far ahead of their skis," said Moorhead. "It's important that Google keeps deep research and development separate from its current operations. If not, the real doers and executors who are pulling in the profits today could get disgruntled. If Google does see a short-term profit downturn, there will be immense pressure to pull back on the deep research."
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 3D printing a new face, or liver, isn't that far off
- Shoot and print: 3D printers to include scanners
- Testing life on Mars, but here on Earth
- U.S. Navy to test humanoid robotic firefighters
- BMW's new i8 is the first production car with laser headlights
- NASA's humanoid robot to get a leg up on space station
- SmartThings founder sees a limitless Internet of Things
- Ready for your electronic tattoo?
- Research on bendable glass could lead to flexible mobile phones
- Smart highways and driverless cars coming in 2030 -- for real?
Read more about Emerging Technologies in Computerworld's Emerging Technologies Topic Center.
- Shifting Gears: The Value of Customer-Driven Quality in Manufacturing In today's competitive manufacturing market, the customer must be the center of the quality universe. This paper details how manufacturers can improve customer...
- Aberdeen Group: Marketing Analytics for Manufacturing: Forging Customer Insights There are no recalls for poor marketing. Manufacturers need to get their customer intelligence and messaging right the first time. Learn how.
- Unlocking the Promise of Demand Sensing and Shaping through Big Data Analytics Many organizations have limited insight into big data. These limitations have significant opportunity costs and can have a negative effect on identifying and...
- The Brave New World of Customer-Centric Manufacturing The Unique Opportunity for Manufacturers to Better Understand their Consumers
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy... All Emerging Technologies White Papers | Webcasts