Upon the formation of Alphabet, Google created many new divisions to house and better manage individual products and categories. One of these, Google X, was made to be a catch-all for their Moonshot projects, ambitious and futuristic ideas that may be a bit off the radar or far-flung from Google’s normal fare. Things like Project Loon have typically fallen under the banner of Moonshot, along with Google’s satellite drone project known as Titan X, and Google Robotics. Though not every Moonshot project has yet been moved to the Google X banner, Titan X and Google robotics are now making the leap, giving them the advantage of separate, dedicated management.
Google’s robotics division had long been led by former Danger exec Andy Rubin, commonly known as the father of Android. Once established within the company, he led a chain of acquisitions that led Google to begin emphasizing robotics development, including military contractor Boston Dynamics. When Rubin left and took a good few of his team with him, the robotics division was left scratching its head and was temporarily given to Johnathan Rosenberg. With the companies that made up the robotics division left searching for a strategy for the future and an unsuccessful attempt to recruit Autodesk’s Carl Bass to lead the division, the decision was finally made to hand it over to Google X.
Project Titan, a project meant to spread internet access far and wide via drone, sat under Alphabet’s Access and Energy subsidiary until now. Google beat out Facebook and acquired Titan Aerospace last year, a startup known for their high-altitude, long-life drones that could carry payloads that could deliver voice, data and high-resolution images. Project Titan is set to be merged into Project Wing, Google’s delivery-by-drone project.
Both teams are now set to report to Google X leader Astro Teller. Under the Google X umbrella, these moonshots will be joining Project Loon, the self-driving car project and Project Makani, a wind energy initiative, as projects that Google has deemed fit to have Teller head up. The individual teams and companies within each project will remain their own entities, with Teller providing input and output for Alphabet at large, as well as providing overall direction for the projects and helping to keep management in check.