Google and the laws of robotics

GoogleLast week, news emerged that Google purchased a company called Boston Dynamics, a manufacturer of robot technologies. This is reportedly the eighth robotics specialist the company has purchased in the past six months, according to the New York Times, including others named Schaft, Industrial Perception, Meka, Bot & Dollay, Redwood Robotics, Autofuss and Holomni. It is unclear how much the company has spent or will spend in the future to develop its robotics initiatives.

We recognize that there are pros and cons around a diversification strategy for Google. Their legacy core business of self-service paid search for small and medium-sized enterprises and e-commerce-based marketers is of course large in absolute terms and high margin, too. There were always clear strategic advantages diversifying away from search when they involved establishing defensive “moats”, as with the company’s expansion into display-related advertising businesses and other digital/web-based content properties. Acquisitions of YouTube, Android, Doubleclick, AdMob, Zagat and the newly-added Waze all help in this regard.

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