drag2share: Meet The Mastermind Behind Driverless Cars, Glass And More: Google’s ‘Chief Of Moonshots,’ Astro Teller


Astro Teller Google

Google X is a department of Google that’s based 3 minutes from the search engine’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. It is where Google employees quietly hack away at driverless cars, Google Glass, and other “moon shots” – big ideas that will take years to come to fruition.

Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, spends most of his time working on Google X projects. But the department is headed up by a lesser-known man, Eric “Astro” Teller. Teller is highlighted in Time’s feature of a new Google business, Calico, which is trying to cheat death with science.

Teller is Google’s “Chief of Moonshots.” Science is in his genes. Edward Teller, Astro’s grandfather, created the hydrogen bomb.

Teller has founded five businesses. He also holds a pile of patents and degrees. Teller’s companies include I.P. holding company Zivio Technologies, BodyMedia, Sandbox Advanced Development, and Cerebellum Capital. BodyMedia was acquired by Jawbone for $100 million. He graduated from Stanford University with a degree in computer science. He also has a Masters in symbolic and heuristic computation and a Ph.D in artificial intelligence.

A Stanford friend of Teller’s, David Andre, spoke to Chicago Business about his brilliance. He says Teller has the ability to see the future in a way most people don’t. “[He thinks] farther ahead in research and business chess than anyone I’ve ever seen,”  Andre said.

The scientist-turned-businessman joined Google in 2010. Although Google’s new death-defying company isn’t under Teller’s domain, he decides which world-changing ideas Google will pursue.

It doesn’t just come down to concepts Teller and Brin like. “Google X’s moon shots have three things in common: a significant problem for the world that needs solving, a potential solution and the possibility of breakthrough technology making all the difference,” Times’ Harry McCracken and Lev Grossman write. Teller then tells his team to try and find every possible way an idea won’t work before moving full steam ahead.

Teller has called his team at Google X “Peter Pans with P.h Ds” and likens the forward-thinking arm of Google to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

The Google X team doesn’t strive to improve things that already exist. It tackles seemingly impossible tasks by simply taking a different mental approach.

“[Moon shots] matter because when you try to do something radically hard, you approach the problem differently than when you try to make something incrementally better,” Teller said at the South by Southwest conference in Texas. “When you attack a problem as though it were solvable, even though you don’t know how to solve it, you will be shocked with what you come up with. It’s 100 times more worth it. It’s never 100 times harder.”

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Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 news No Comments

"The Goal Is to Become HBO Faster Than HBO Can Become Us"


Netflix: We’ve long know that Netflix is ambitious, striving to make its own original content when it can. But now the company had made its intentions clear: it isn’t just keeping up with the big boy cable networks—it plans to beat them at their own game.

In a long and thoughtful profile of Netflix in GQ, the streaming company’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos speaks out about what the future holds for the firm. He suggests Netflix must be making at least five new shows a year in order to outdo the big boys:

“The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.”

With $300 million in his back pocket to spend on original programming—which has already allowed projects like House of Cards, Hemlock Grove, and a new season of Arrested Development to come to fruition—he certainly has the means. All that remains to be proven is the consistency and quality of its programming—and whether or not it can win over enough cable customers. [GQ]

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Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 digital No Comments

EMV in, magnetic strips out


MasterCard reveals roadmap for EMV electronic payments It’s been over fifteen years since MasterCard, Visa and Europay developed EMV technology to make your credit cards more secure, but it has yet to really catch on here in the US. However, MasterCard has created a master plan to help usher in the EMV era and sound the death knell for the magnetic strip. Why? The EMV infrastructure is far more fraud-resistant because each transaction is authenticated dynamically using cryptographic algorithms and a user-specific PIN. That’s why MasterCard plans to help build out the EMV POS infrastructure by April of next year and have its secure e-payment system functioning at ATMs, online and with its myriad mobile payment options as well. For now, the nuts and bolts of how the credit card firm plans to bring its plan to fruition are few, but more details will be forthcoming, and there’s a bit more info at the source and PR below.

Continue reading MasterCard reveals roadmap for our electronic payment future: EMV in, magnetic strips out

! MasterCard reveals roadmap for our electronic payment future: EMV in, magnetic strips out originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 31 Jan 2012 05:42:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 news No Comments

Microsoft Already Won The Battle For The Living Room When Nobody Was Looking (MSFT)


kinect 2

Two bits of news came out yesterday that illustrate how far ahead Microsoft is in the battle for the living room.

First, Microsoft announced it had sold 1.7 million Xboxes in November. That includes 1 million in the week of Thanksgiving.

More quietly, an analyst firm called Strategy Analytics released a report on “connected TV players,” like Apple TV, Boxee, and the Google TV devices from Sony and Logitech.

The firm says that sales of those devices will reach 12 million in 2011, with Apple TV shipping 4 million.

In other words, Microsoft sold more Xboxes in a single week than Apple sells in an average quarter. And Apple is the market leader in that “connected TV players” space. At least when you ignore game consoles.

This isn’t to pick on Apple. It’s simply to point out that Microsoft’s “Trojan horse” strategy with the Xbox has worked amazingly well.

And this was absolutely part of Microsoft’s strategy from the beginning — way back in 2005 before the Xbox 360 launched, Microsoft executives were talking about trying to expand the market beyond hardcore video gamers and turn it into a more general-purpose entertainment device. But Microsoft always knew it had to make a top-notch game console first to get the installed base, then add entertainment features over time.

It’s been doing that, quietly, for more than five years now and has sold almost 60 million Xboxes in the process. With the addition of a whole bunch of TV and other video content last week, the strategy has finally reached full fruition.

Apple, Google, and other connected TV companies could still have a chance if they team up with TV makers so the software is built into your new television set. But any company who hopes to compete with the Xbox by selling an add-on box that DOESN’T play games is in a deep state of denial.

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Monday, December 12th, 2011 news No Comments

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