Google has a secret laboratory, unknown even to most of the company’s employees, where it develops projects that sound like something taken from a sci-fi movie, the New York Timesreports.
At the lab, located somewhere in the Bay Area, Google’s brightest engineers are working on some hundred projects, including smart refrigerators and dinner plates, robots that fetch the groceries and elevators that can take you to outer space.
An unnamed Google engineer says that the lab is run mysteriously, in two different office buildings — one for logistics and the other for robotics projects.
The scientists working in the lab include hires from Microsoft, Nokia, Stanford, M.I.T., Carnegie Mellon and New York University. Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin is reportedly “deeply involved” with the project, and he and co-founder Larry Page have come up with a list of ideas for the lab.
It is reportedly headed by robotics and artificial intelligence expert Sebastian Thrun from Stanford, best known for his work on the world’s first driverless car. Andrew Ng, a Stanford professor and an esteemed A.I. expert, also works at the lab.
A Google spokeswoman would not confirm the existence of the lab, but she did say that Google likes to invest in speculative projects. Google’s 20% rule, which lets engineers spend one-fifth of their work time on personal projects, is one example of that, but a secret lab takes this idea a step further and makes you wonder which of these technologies will graduate to be full-fledged Google projects.