Google has fingers in plenty of pies, but the latest news from Palo Alto is that one of those fingers might be made of cold stainless steel.
The New York Times had a chat with former Android chief Andy Rubin, who's now been put in charge of Google's robotic activities. Rubin has a history with robotics, having worked on manufacturing projects with the likes of Carl Zeiss. To that end, it would seem that Google's intentions are for robots to be hidden away inside factories rather than being walking, talking metal men (or drones) made to carry your shopping.
The piece also states that Google has bought seven technology companies with the intention of developing robots.
Nonetheless, it's an interesting development for a firm that currently doesn't have a particularly huge stake in the manufacturing and retail sectors – which both benefit hugely from robotics – and has only recently started offering home delivery for retail.
Of course, Google has a little bit of experience with creating autonomous machines, with its driverless car making headlines around the world and scaring regular users of zebra crossings to boot.
Rubin, who took Android from a fringe mobile OS to a dominant force in the smartphone space, says he has a "a history of making my hobbies into a career". In other words, he has a track record of getting things right, which probably made his task of convincing Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to get on board a little easier.
It's interesting that this news should come during the same week as Amazon's teasing look at its automated delivery drones. It rather seems like there's a bit of one-upmanship going on in the tech world, with major firms looking to steal headlines as the year comes to a close.
By V3's Michael Passingham, who always obeys the first law of robotics
05 Dec 2013