back to article Factories are too DULL for Google's robo-dreams: Behold the GATAMAMs

Google's spree of robot acquisitions represents a major bet by the ad giant that it can wring more data from the world, and make some money that's not from advertising along the way. And, we reckon, it will deal with a serious problem lurking in the company's future. When news broke on Friday that Google had bought DARPA's …


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  1. cracked

    Google Rover

    I wrote about the robo-pet everyone will want, on 'ere, yesterday.

    I think that is almost certainly where Goo Inc sees this going. The more (innocent looking) sensors you have in the field, the more you are likely to find out.

    For a long time I have wondered why a pair of individuals would - way back when - need to come up with a company slogan of "Do no evil"?

    Even tobacco companies, who apparently knew of their guilt long before most folk, didn't feel the need to protest their innocence quite so early, quite so loudly and for quite so long.

    The greatest danger - to everyone else - from IT companies, is the geeky desire to do something just because it can be done.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google Rover

      What about Choco Bots :)

    3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Google Rover

      If Google sell me an actual, factual, working robot butler then I am their loyal evangelist until the end of time.

  2. solo

    Google, take this deal please

    Robots are desirable for these 5 reasons (as I understood from sci-fi literature):

    1. Don't need to bother humans for trivial tasks (photography, pills ... )

    2. They can take more risks (photography of volcanos ... )

    3. Accuracy (laser surgery, but this is subjective)

    4. Avoiding revolt (the most important, I guess)

    5. They are cheaper (Alas, the most important as people think)

    Now, as we have billions of unemployed people around the world, Google, employing them instead of these robots could be more profitable for you, here is how:

    1. Those unemployed are already doing too trivial tasks to be bothered (killing bugs and rats, doing nothing etc ... )

    2. They can jump in riots, risking their lives just for few breads that their mentors provide. Imagine what they can do for you when you pay in currency

    3. For accuracy, it's always about how accurate your analysis is rather than the collection of the data (okay,... or equal). So employ even more those flesh.

    4. When people are well fed they don't revolt. See how easily NSA can get away (Shh.. and robots can also rev..)

    5. Flesh labor are damn cheaper... you can't even imagine. The more I say this, the more I feel guilty towards those cheap people.

    So, I beg, take this.

    1. Michael Hawkes

      Re: Google, take this deal please

      Playing devil's advocate here, the problem with people is that they have "rights" and can complain to the government if they feel those rights have been abused. A robot doesn't have these rights (not yet, anyway). Unemployed people might be cheap labor, and even desperate for work, but it's still possible they might complain about some aspect of employment. Therefore, it makes more sense to use robots for some jobs, because robots can't complain.

      1. Euripides Pants Silver badge

        Re: Google, take this deal please

        "Therefore, it makes more sense to use robots for some jobs, because robots can't complain."


      2. Flywheel Silver badge

        Re: the problem with people is that they have "rights" ..complain to the government

        Yes, they (we) have rights, but unless you've been living under a rock for the past decade you'll notice that these are not worth the paper they're written on. As for complaining to the Government, that's another exercise in futility, and no doubt we'll see the populace rise up long before the robots do.

    2. Marvin the Martian

      Re: Google, take this deal please

      Or aiming lower, you could get robots to swap out faulty drives in a data center rack.

      They should give off less heat than a human (is it 800w?) or could even work in uncomfortably breezy/cold rooms, say 15C with a draft, without continuously having snotty and feverish colds.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google, take this deal please

      6. Give Android to all your new flesh labor and harvest even more data. Robots will not generate new data :)

  3. poopypants

    So, they want more data?

    They should build their own Square Kilometre Array.

  4. DougS Silver badge

    Google is becoming Microsoft

    Once Microsoft realized they owned the entire market they were in, and had to rely on future growth in that market for their own growth, they started expanding into other stuff they thought might be the future. Google is doing the same.

    Google knows robots are going to be a huge market, someday. They don't want to miss out on it so they're trying to get involved. Microsoft knew the same thing about smartphones, among other stuff, but despite some early success when the market was tiny, totally missed participating in the major growth phase of that market.

    Just because Google is Google, and even should they have some early success in the robot market when it is small, doesn't mean Google will become Mom's Friendly Robot Company. By the time the robot market really hits, Google will be like Microsoft or IBM in their prime in people's minds - and I don't mean that as a good thing. That is going to be a big obstacle to them. Already I know people who choose Bing (ironic considering the owner) because they think Google is collecting too much information on them and don't want to give them search queries on top of everything else Google may collect on them.

  5. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Robots for everyone

    Then again, there's the default ringtone for KitKat...

  6. Mark Walker

    There's a reason it's Rubin

    Your android phone knows some of what you want, some of your movement habits, some of how you spend your time, some of your plans (perhaps like me your calendar is a little sketchy, because all the phone can really do with it is beep a reminder).

    So make this connected bundle of sensors large, so it has a bigger power source, and its eyes can always be on, and its ears always open to hear your commands. Now give it independent motion, and a means to interact with the environment. Now it is your chauffeur, your chef, your housekeeper, your PA, your coach, your butler. Now you tell it _lots_ more because it can do so much more. And it observes constantly.

    This isn't about streetview on steroids. It is what your digital companion ('phone' has been inadequate for a long time) becomes.

    ...or maybe it's just that I watched Robot and Frank at the weekend :-)

  7. VinceH Silver badge


    I just want to know if, as well as the Google HQ everyone knows about, they also have a secret lair underneath a volcano, a space station that is currently dark, a stealth boat, a big bloke working for them who has metal teeth... that kind of thing.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Optional

      As long as they are STRONGER than the gaggle of politicians currently trying to open a PORTAL to HIMMLER'S BUBBLE UNIVERSE HOLIDAY RESORT, they can have all the fluffy cat stroking they want.

  8. Faye B

    The future is now(ish)

    Robots are the future, that's for sure but its when Google change their name to Sirius Cybernetics that we have to worry! Let's hope their first prototype isn't called Marvin.

  9. mdubash

    So is the start of the possibility that I can live that life of leisure I was promised in the 1960s because the robots would abolish work?

    Still waiting...

  10. Merrill

    The robot-maintained data center

    Data centers have two big problems:

    - clearances have to be allowed for humans to move about, and

    - they have to be filled with air for the humans to breathe.

    If you design the data center to be built out, maintained, and upgraded by robots, then the dimensions of packs, crates, racks, aisles, pods, floors, etc. can be done with an eye towards maximizing efficiency rather than designing for human access. Of course, this requires robotics compatible designs for cooling, power distribution, cabling, equipment mounting, etc. as well as servers and networking gear.

    It may be possible to fill the data center with a liquid coolant instead of air. The advantages of doing so may be greater at the high densities of equipment enabled by using robots for all physical operations.

    The design of the robots and the design of the data center would be done together to jointly optimize efficiency.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The robot-maintained data center

      So much robotics for maintaining data centers? How naive I must be!

  11. Idocrase

    Google is a matter of a couple decades from producing a device very much akin to the Holoband... ( - If that's not an evolution of Google Glass I dunno what is.

    Now it's buying up ROBOTICS companies?! Lets see, Robot butlers and omnidirectional wheels -

    Uh. Huh.

    They're working on military contracts people. And bugger me, if it's not Terminators, it's gonna be frakkin' Cylons!

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