AI by a thread
Artificial intelligence is the thread running through all Google's disparate efforts at innovation, including autonomous vehicles, enterprise cloud and the new smartphone line, according to the Google Strategy Teardown report from CB Insights.
“The company is leveraging its AI/machine learning expertise to differentiate its products across all sectors, including search and advertising, and overall consumer web services,” says the report. “Google’s new high-end mobile and smart home devices serve as exclusive outlets for some of these services.”
CB Insights adds that investments, acquisition, and patent data point to company R&D in areas including autonomous driving, wearables, AI-driven healthcare, plus efforts to bring broadband to a broader swath of the global population.
However, there has been a reining-in of spending as well as a mandate for moonshot initiatives to demonstrate paths to profitability. “That has led to veteran attrition and the restructuring of teams to combat corporate sprawl, as well as the external hiring of industry veterans to nudge moonshots such as Loon and autonomous vehicles towards commercialisation.”
The report also points out that venture capital investment arm GV has largely pulled out of funding younger start-ups. “Its seed activity has fallen almost 85% on a year-over-year basis, with no new seed deals at all in the first half of 2016.”