Robohub.org
 

Google news: Rubin leaves; Pichai promoted to #2; and Google invests in Magic Leap

by
31 October 2014



share this:
vlcsnap-2014-11-01-03h27m30s148

Andy Rubin leaves Google; Sundar Pichai promoted to #2 man at Google; and Google invests in $542 million B funding for Magic Leap.

Andy Rubin, the Google executive who was in charge of the company’s robotics group and spearheaded the Android operating system before that, resigned from Google and will start a tech incubator focused on hardware.

According to the NY Times, Mr. Rubin’s departure is part of a series of recent executive moves that seem to give Mr. Page more room to focus on the company’s longer-term bets — like robotics — while handing almost all the responsibility for Google products to Sundar Pichai, a rising star. The robotics group will now be led by James Kuffner, who has been at the company since 2009 and has worked on self-driving cars, a Google spokesman said.

James-Kuffner

Regarding James Kuffner, who replaces Rubin, The Wall Street Journal said,

Andy Rubin, former leader of Google’s Android mobile business, oversaw a series of robotics acquisitions last year, so his departure comes at a poor time for the company. 
That puts pressure on Kuffner to bring together disparate Google properties like Boston Dynamics and Schaft.

“Robotics is still a difficult technology to pull off well, I think moreso than many or all tech fields,” said Michael Wagner, a senior commercialization specialist with the National Robotics Engineering Center at Carnegie Mellon University. “James has the expertise to navigate traps others with less experience may not expect. So I don’t think this is a setback at all.”

Sundar Pichai becomes Google’s Product Chief. The NY Times said of the promotion:

Sundar Pichai, is to oversee every major Google product except YouTube. The move arguably makes Mr. Pichai the second-most powerful person at the company, and is intended to give Mr. Page more time to focus on more futuristic projects, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

In a memo on Friday, Mr. Page said that Mr. Pichai’s empire – which already includes the Android and Chrome products, along with Google Apps like Google Docs and Gmail – will now include Research, Search, Maps, the social media network Google Plus, along with Commerce. He will also oversee technical infrastructure, which is essentially the ever-growing racks of servers and switches that keep all those products working.

Much interest within the robotics community has been focused on Google’s acquisitions in the area of robotics because Google hasn’t said anything about what they are doing. So many start-ups …  So much talent … What’s their long-term goal? What’s the common denominator? How, where and when will those purchases and their activities combine into some money-making enterprise(s) and/or product(s)?

Magic Leap

As artificial intelligence software and emerging learning chips fuse into more speedy and capable pursuits, the line between things robotic (which has a specific definition) and AI-driven robotic activities not yet defined (like software bots) is coming into question. Hence the interest in where Google is focusing. Some of that focus has been on acquiring learning system companies (and talent). Additional focus may include virtual reality, 3D imaging, and augmented reality systems. Imagine that you were driving in China and didn’t speak or read Chinese. How would you understand exit signs on the freeway? With augmented reality systems in your car, signs you see could be translated automatically so that what you percieve is the sign in your language without distraction.

The opening scene on the Magic Leap website is of a virtual elephant inside the palm of your hand. No Google Glasses. No Oculus Rift headset and goggles. Scrolling down a bit one sees a classroom scene with colorful sea horses floating inbetween the kids. Back in July, NY Times technology writer John Markoff described Magic Leap’s grand goals.

Thus it was no surprise that Google participated in the recent $542 million B funding round for the start-up Magic Leap, a Florida start-up that claims to merge the physical and digital worlds with hardware and software that surpasses existing virtual and augmented reality solutions. Other participants in the B funding included Qualcomm, KPCB, Andreessen Horowitz, Obvious Ventures, and Legendary Entertainment.



tags: , , , ,


Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report, and is also a panel member for Robohub's Robotics by Invitation series.
Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report, and is also a panel member for Robohub's Robotics by Invitation series.





Related posts :



Sea creatures inspire marine robots which can operate in extra-terrestrial oceans

Scientists at the University of Bristol have drawn on the design and life of a mysterious zooplankton to develop underwater robots.
02 February 2023, by

Our future could be full of undying, self-repairing robots – here’s how

Could it be that future AI systems will need robotic “bodies” to interact with the world? If so, will nightmarish ideas like the self-repairing, shape-shifting T-1000 robot from the Terminator 2 movie come to fruition? And could a robot be created that could “live” forever?
01 February 2023, by

Sensing with purpose

Fadel Adib uses wireless technologies to sense the world in new ways, taking aim at sweeping problems such as food insecurity, climate change, and access to health care.
29 January 2023, by

Robot Talk Episode 34 – Interview with Sabine Hauert

In this week's episode of the Robot Talk podcast, host Claire Asher chatted to Dr Sabine Hauert from the University of Bristol all about swarm robotics, nanorobots, and environmental monitoring.
28 January 2023, by

Special drone collects environmental DNA from trees

Researchers at ETH Zurich and the Swiss Federal research institute WSL have developed a flying device that can land on tree branches to take samples. This opens up a new dimension for scientists previously reserved for biodiversity researchers.
27 January 2023, by

The robots of CES 2023

Robots were on the main expo floor at CES this year, and these weren’t just cool robots for marketing purposes. I’ve been tracking robots at CES for more than 10 years, watching the transition from robot toys to real robots.
25 January 2023, by





©2021 - ROBOTS Association


 












©2021 - ROBOTS Association