Google's Secret Ideas Factory Could Put You in a Space Elevator

Hidden away in a remote part of the San Francisco Bay Area, Google has a top-secret lab that's home to the future. It's called Google X and guess what? Nobody knows for sure what happens in there.

The New York Times reports that Google X is home to all manner of exotic technology and forward-thinking innovation. Which I'm sure it is. But you don't have to read far to realise that, essentially, nobody has the faintest idea what that involves.

"Google X [is] the clandestine lab where Google is tackling a list of 100 shoot-for-the-stars ideas. In interviews, a dozen people discussed the list; some work at the lab or elsewhere at Google, and some have been briefed on the project. But none would speak for attribution because Google is so secretive about the effort that many employees do not even know the lab exists."

That doesn't mean we can't take a stab at guessing what's going on, though. From what's been said so far, robots feature heavily at Google X. One rumour suggests that fleets of robots could replace the humans that photograph streets for Google Maps, another that they could be destined for homes and offices, where they can assist with chores.

But that's dull. More exciting is the idea that Google might put its driverless cars into production. In the US. And then there's the long-held dream of Google: space elevators. In theory, that involves rocketless space travel where people - well, inside some sort of vehicle - are towed along a cable anchored to Earth. If they're working on that at X, boy is that exciting.

Still, like we say, nobody really knows what happens at Google X. They could just be watching YouTube for all we know. [The New York Times; Image: brionv]