Google share price: Online search group reveals robotics ‘moonshot’

on Dec 5, 2013
Updated: Oct 21, 2019
Listen, Thursday, December 5: Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has acquired a number of robotics companies in the past six months to form a robotics division headed by the former chief of Android Andy Rubin. In an interview with the New York Times published yesterday, Rubin revealed some details about Google’s latest ‘moonshot’ project, though he didn’t reveal specific plans. The newspaper suggested that Google’s robots might be pit against Amazon Inc’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) recently announced Prime Air project (Amazon share price: Company tests futuristic drone delivery system).

In yesterday’s trading Google shares closed up 0.5 percent in New York to $1,058.18. The Amazon share price gained 0.34 percent to $385.96.
To jumpstart its robotics project Google has acquired seven companies including San Francisco-based Autofuss and Redwood Robotics, MIT spin-off Meka Robotics, and Japan’s Schaft. The new division will be building a new generation of robots and, while there are not many details about its specific plans, the acquisition spree suggests that Google has serious interest in this area.

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“Like any moonshot, you have to think of time as a factor,” Rubin told the New York Times. “We need enough runway and a 10-year vision.”
For now, it seems that this particular moonshot (Google refers to its special projects, which also include driverless cars and balloons in the stratosphere providing Internet service, as ‘moonshots’) isn’t aimed at consumers. The NYT cited sources with “specific knowledge on the project”, according to whom the expected targets range from manufacturing of small electronics like smartphones – still mostly assembled by hand – to packing goods in warehouses and making home deliveries.

The NYT quoted Andrew McAfee, a principal research scientist at the M.I.T. Center for Digital Business, as commenting:
“The opportunity is massive. There are still people who walk around in factories and pick things up in distribution centres and work in the back rooms of grocery stores.”

Google’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Larry Page seemed enthusiastic about the project.
“I am excited about Andy Rubin’s next project,” Page wrote yesterday via his Google+ profile. “His last big bet, Android, started off as a crazy idea that ended up putting a supercomputer in hundreds of millions of pockets. It is still very early days for this, but I can’t wait to see the progress.”

The news about Google’s new moonshot comes just days after Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos revealed that the e-commerce giant is working on a futuristic drone delivery system in order to improve efficiency and speed in getting products to customers. The system called Prime Air would use drones to deliver goods by air in as little as 30 minutes. Putting the system into commercial use could take several years Amazon said.
Obviously, both Google’s and Amazon’s projects are aimed at the long term. But if the two tech giants realise their visions, it might be that, some day, the futuristic battlefield of online shopping will be fought by armies of flying Amazon drones and humanoid Google robots.
**As of yesterday’s US close buy Google shares at $1,065.67**
**As of yesterday’s US close sell Google shares at $1,048.00**
**As of yesterday’s US close buy Amazon shares at $386.99**
**As of yesterday’s US close sell Amazon shares at $385.56**
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