Today Google announced that it has hired Dr. Arun Majumdar to run its ‘energy initiatives,’ and to provide guidance to the firm on its larger energy efforts. This is the company’s second high-profile recent hire: futurist Ray Kurzweil joined Google two days ago.
Google, a company that maintains warehouses of servers, global offices, and fleets of cars, is a large consumer of power. If its new hire can help the company operate more efficiently, he could save it significant funds. Previously, Dr. Majumdar was Acting Undersecretary of Energy at the Department of Energy. I suspect that his move to Google came with a slight increase in salary.
Google does not have small goals for the good doctor. In fact, it kicks off his introduction to the world in the following way: “One of the world’s biggest challenges is bringing reliable, sustainable and affordable energy to everyone. We need a new energy blueprint for the future.” Welcome to the team, Dr. Majumdar.
Google as a company is simply unafraid of investing heavily in technology that isn’t core to its search product. Its Google Fiber project, thought to be little but a trial run, is anything but according to its chairman Eric Schmidt: “It’s actually not an experiment; we’re actually running it as a business.” The company intends to expand its fiber product into more cities in the future.
I highlight the fiber example as indicative of its willingness to spend on projects that may only yield significant cash flows in the distant future. A few years back having Google as your ISP would have been laughable. Who knows, perhaps in ten years time Google will be your power company as well.
Top Image Credit: John Lester