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Here's what Google X could disrupt next

Posting in Technology

What's next for Google X? The technology giant's experimental lab has already developed products and concepts that were previously unimaginable: Google Glass, driverless cars, glucose-monitoring contacts. So what industries is the head of Google X, Astro Teller, eying for disruption next?

Speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt conference earlier this week, Teller hinted at some industries in need of change. And the first might involve a little, say, field research. As Wired reports:

There is just as much room, Teller said, to improve the agriculture industry. "It is the largest industry in the world. It is also the most inefficient industry in the world. It's the cause of a lot of our solid waste and carbon emission problems," he explained. "There's so much opportunity there, so much opportunity." For instance, a large percentage of the world's arable land isn't arable because it's on a slope."

It will be interesting to see what solutions the lab can come up with on agriculture. But with hope from a recent report that annual carbon emissions from global agriculture could be reduced 50-90 percent by 2030, we're all ears.

The battery industry is another that Teller believes could use a shake up. A battery that's 10-times more efficient, according to Teller, "would change the world so radically we can't even see what that could be." Think high-range electric cars, electric planes, and beyond. Surely Teller is keeping an eye on Tesla's gigafactory, which could break ground next month.

But for all the products that go public, there are plenty that fail. The key to success? Rewarding failure. With roughly 100 ideas scratched this year alone, rewarding failure is important so that employees continue to take risks.

One of the most high-profile failures this year is in an industry that is in need of disruption: transportation. But, sorry, that disruption won't come from personal jetpacks. Google X shut down its jetpack project because of extreme fuel inefficiency and noise. Hopefully at least a few of the ideas to make agriculture and energy storage more efficient won't suffer the same fate.

Photo: Flickr/TechCrunch

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— By on May 8, 2014, 12:08 PM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure