The “Googleplex” has been Google’s hallmark offices for years and rates as one of the top places to work by many magazines. According to a new report from the Mercury Times, Google is expanding on its already large Googleplex. The Mountain View, Calif.-based Company reportedly plans to spend $120 million to add new advancements to its sprawling headquarters, from a new museum to new testing labs for the secret Google X projects.
Google plans to open a new Experience Center as a museum not open to the public. The Experience Center would show Google’s history to special invited groups. Some of the products shown off could potentially be confidential. The focus here would be selling products to groups, such as school districts.
There has been much in the news lately regarding Google’s “Project X.” In Project X, the team is reportedly working on new HUD glasses, which we exclusively told you last month. As part of its new $120 million addition, Google is attaching new additions to that sector. Google is also adding to its “Google/@home” initiative. As part of @home, Google is reportedly developing a new streaming home-entertainment device. This break through into consumer electronics could be announced tomorrow, according to a teaser from the Google TV team.
Google reportedly poached an Apple employee to hire on its own staff. VentureBeatreported that Google hired Apple’s (now former) Senior Director of Product Integrity Simon Prakash for a secret project, where he would work perhaps alongside Google’s cofounder Sergey Brin. Prakash could even work under Motorola Mobility, whom Google is working to acquire, to head hardware projects.
Prakash worked at Apple for over eight years, and was responsible for the product quality across Apple’s products—from iPhones to Macs. To boost his reputation, you may recall that Apple was voted top among product quality in a recent JD Power and Associates Award for the sixth consecutive last year. It is obvious why Google would go after such an employee.
Prakash could be joining Google to work on Google X’s wearable heads up display glasses we showed you in December. Former Apple employee Richard DeVaul, a PhD. scientist from MIT with a focus on building wearable technologies, also left Apple to join Google X’s team. Is Google building up a huge and talented team for such a large product?
We have more iOS device executive departure news forthcoming, so stay tuned.
The New York Times today relayed an open secret among some in the Google community: the company is working on wearable technology in its secret off-campus Google X lair. However, the technology we have heard about is not the watch-type variety as described (although, we would be surprised if Google was not working on that technology, too):
Over the last year, Apple and Google have secretly begun working on projects that will become wearable computers. Their main goal: to sell more smartphones. (In Google’s case, more smartphones sold means more advertising viewed.)
In Google’s secret Google X labs, researchers are working on peripherals that — when attached to your clothing or body — would communicate information back to an Android smartphone.
People familiar with the work in the lab say Google has hired electronic engineers from Nokia Labs, Apple and engineering universities who specialize in tiny wearable computers.
While Apple may be focusing on iPod nano-like watches, Google seems to be pushing ahead in heads-up displays. We first brought news that prominent wearables PhD Richard DuVaul moved from Apple to Google in June. His research is focused on wearable heads up displays (HUDs).
His dissertation was on “The Memory Glasses“, a heads-up display focused on the problems associated with wearable memory support technology. This included hardware and software architectures, and low-attention human-computer interaction for wearable computing, including the use of subliminal visual cues for just-in-time memory support.
Our source tells us that this is what Google is building. They are in late prototype stages of wearable glasses that look similar to thick-rimmed glasses that “normal people” wear. However, these provide a display with a heads up computer interface. There are a few buttons on the arms of the glasses, but otherwise, they could be mistaken for normal glasses. Additionally, we are not sure of the technology being employed here, but it is likely a transparent LCD or AMOLED display such as the one demonstrated below:
In addition, we have heard that this device is not an “Android peripheral” as the NYT stated. According to our source, it communicates directly with the Cloud over IP. Although, the “Google Goggles” could use a phone’s Internet connection, through Wi-Fi or a low power Bluetooth 4.0.
The use-case is augmented reality that would tie into Google’s location services. A user can walk around with information popping up and into display -Terminator-style- based on preferences, location and Google’s information.
Therefore, these things likely connect to the Internet and have GPS. They also likely run a version of Android.
Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, is deeply involved in the lab, said several people with knowledge of it, and came up with the list of ideas along with Larry Page, Google’s other founder, who worked on Google X before becoming chief executive in April; Eric E. Schmidt, its chairman; and other top executives. “Where I spend my time is farther afield projects, which we hope will graduate to important key businesses in the future,” Mr. Brin said recently, though he did not mention Google X. Read more