You might think Google’s ‘moonshot’ lab, Google X, is pretty out there, with autonomous cars, smart contact lenses and balloon-served Internet. But co-founder Larry Page seemingly thinks the company needs to look even further ahead: The Information (paywall) reports that he has proposed a second lab, Google Y, to look at even bigger issues.

The idea came out out of an initiative Page created called Google 2.0, designed to create a new set of goals for the company, an approach similar to that taken by the late Steve Jobs at Apple in 2010, where he created an off-site strategy-planning meeting for the top 100 people in the company.

A little over a year ago, Google CEO Larry Page convened his direct reports, the company’s dozen or so senior vice presidents, for a project that would take up two days a week for a couple of months. About 100 other employees below the SVP rank also participated in the effort, dubbed Google 2.0 …

What sort of problems would Project Y tackle? A more efficient airport design is one idea that has been mooted, and another is the slightly more ambitious idea of a completely new approach to how cities work.

No details have been given, but there’s no denying that both would make fascinating topics to explore. Anyone who has ever spent too much time in airports will know that there is vast room for improvement. London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 – designed to replace the ‘hurry up’ feel of a typical airport terminal with a calm and relaxed atmosphere – comes closer than most, but a completely reinvented airport still sounds like a great idea to me.

Creating a whole new city sounds a trifle ambitious even for Google, but there have been new town projects designed to ensure that a new place to live and work is planned rather than allowed to simply evolve. Doing the same thing on a bigger scale – with, one assumes, a whole lot more technology – would be a sight to see.

Image credit: Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport in China from swide.com


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