The media distractions of Google's X lab ventures

Alphabet's ($GOOG) X labs serves a giant purpose — to distract reporters from delving into the finances of its business

The November issue of The Atlantic magazine celebrates its 160th anniversary with a cover story on a search for the Science of Creativity -- "Inside Google's Moonshot Factory".

The Atlantic's Senior Editor Derek Thompson, "was granted rare access to the secretive lab at X to see what it can teach us about breakthroughs and the lost art of invention."

It's a well written piece: Google X and the Science of Radical Creativity How the secretive Silicon Valley lab is trying to resurrect the lost art of invention

A snake-robot designer, a balloon scientist, a liquid-crystals technologist, an extra dimensional physicist, a psychology geek, an electronic-materials wrangler, and a journalist walk into a room...

The setting is X, the so-called moonshot factory at Alphabet, the parent company of Google... The people in this room have a particular talent: They dream up far-out answers to crucial problems.

Thompson's conclusion after several days in the lab is that there is no rush to create businesses from the moonshots.

"Insisting on quick products and profits is the modern attitude of innovation that X continues to quietly resist."

Foremski's Take: There's little that's secretive about Google's X initiatives. The Atlantic article is typical of the broad media attention it gets for far out ideas far out in space such as mining asteroids and fighting global warming with stem-cell burgers.

Its most popular project is its self-driving car initiative which gets so much media coverage you'd think Google was a car maker. But it's not and it has announced no business plans for that sector. Yet reporters cover every bend in the auto-car story.

It has been so incredibly successful in promoting its futuristic ideas that reporters rarely ever report on its actual business -- selling online ads.

As The Atlantic's Thompson noted, there's no rush to make new businesses out of the X projects. So why do they exist?

Look over there...

I propose that they already serve a purpose without needing to be developed into viable companies. They are engineered to be a series of clickbait distractions for reporters preferring to write stories about science and innovation.

Look over there!... that car's driving itself! It's an easier story than delving into how Google made $90 billion last year.

If reporters looked closely at Google's business they would find better and more important stories -- stories that impact our world and its business communities today -- and not in a fictitious future.

However, few reporters understand how Google makes money -- ask them something basic such as to name Google's two largest business groups and they cannot. It means they cannot even start to understand the deeper complexities of how money is made on the Internet.

Google's X is not about the science of creativity -- it's about the use of science as a distraction of public attention -- by a secretive business organization controlled by insiders that influences entire industries and the economies of nations.

IMHO, It's a better, bigger story. I'd rather be working on the biggest stories I can find.

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Every quarter Google makes less revenue per ad but finds ways to show more ads. An unsustainable business model. Please see: Analysis: Google fails to stop slide in ad value