“Quantum computing” has been boiling over technology news since Google’s paper was leaked two months ago. In an interview with the MIT Technology Review, Google CEO Sundar Pichai likened the achievement to the Wright brothers’ first flight.
From a 12-second test flight to an airplane that changes people’s lives, it takes decades. The same is true for quantum technology, which will take more than a decade to unlock the true potential of quantum computing.
But for a commercial company that is loyal to the cut project, will Google slash it if quantum computing is not going to go out for a long time and doesn’t see a way to make a profit?
13 Years of “Long Run”: A Machine That Doesn’t Make Money
NewScientist recently published an article by London freelance writer Douglas Heaven, “Google is known for giving up projects that it is not interested in.” The road to a viable quantum computer is long, but we must stick to it. ”
In 1980, Paul Benioff proposed the computer’s first quantum mechanics model, suggesting that quantum computers were theoretically possible. As a result, nearly 40 years of quantum computing research has officially begun.
Google’s quantum computing research got off to a slightly late start, compared with ibm and Stanford University’s use of the Shor algorithm on seven qubit slot stakes in 2001.
In 2006, Google scientist Hartmut Neven began exploring ways to accelerate machine learning in quantum computing, which helped set up the Google AI Quantum team. In 2014, John Martinis and his team at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), joined Google in building quantum computers. Two years later, when Papers by Sergio Boixo et al. were published, Google began to focus on achieving the superiority of quantum computing.
Figures . . . Google scientist Hartmut Neven began exploring ways to accelerate machine learning in quantum computing, which helped set up the Google AI Quantum team (Source: Google AI Quantum)
Thirteen years later, Google claims to have used a 54-bit quantum computer to accomplish tasks that traditional architecture computers cannot. Quantum computers take only 3 minutes and 20 seconds to complete the world’s first overcalculation task, which takes 10,000 years to calculate.
Quantum computers give Google a lot of attention, but with high expectations, you find that the distance between them and the “quantum notebook” may not end. Media or industry renders one or the other scenarios, but these are only in the imagination, there is no example of quantum computing applications.
John Preskill, the author of Quantum Superiority, has dismissed Google as deliberately comparing the advantages of quantum computers to the disadvantages of classic computers. Quantum superiority refers to the overall performance of quantum computers than classical computers, it is clear that has not been achieved.
Rich Uhlig, president of the Intel Institute, congratulated Google on its achievements, but said quantum practicality is more important than quantum superiority. To achieve universal quantum computing, at least a million levels of qubits are required. In addition, from an engineering point of view, quantum systems are extremely unstable, making it difficult to control and operate them for one second.
Google has spent 13 years on quantum computing, and the result is a machine that doesn’t make money. Like the Apollo program, and early AI research, research funding would dry up without producing research that could make money.
Quantum returns are still a mystery, how exactly will Google choose?
“Killed by Google”
You know, Google has a tradition of hurting the killers of its own projects.
Last year, GitHub launched a website called “Killed by Google (https://sohu.gg/N6D2iV5CM)” (Tomb of Google Products), which features 190 apps, services and hardware that have been called or about to be called off, including many that have been around for more than a decade, and some that have been cut down for only a few months.
Founded in 1998, Google rejected 190 products in 21 years, eliminating an average of nine product items a year. Among them, Google Search Appliance struck down after 17 years of survival, while the “shortest” Google Hotpot died in just five months.
This is just some of Google’s apps, services and hardware, excluding subsidiaries and lab projects.
Figures . . . Killed by Google now has 190 apps, services and hardware that have been stopped or are about to be called off (Source: Killed by Google)
In June, Google announced that it would not be making tablets in time for a timely stop- to stop. The tablet business, which has been in operation for more than eight years, has launched seven products, with the exception of the Nexus 7, which sold more than 10 million units worldwide in 2012, and the market reaction to other products has been cool. In the end, he announced that it had officially abandoned its tablet business and canceled two new devices that had not yet been officially released.
Last year, Google announced the removal of google Play Music services into the YouTube Music team in an effort to integrate resources. For years, Google Play Music has been Google’s official streaming service, with 5 billion downloads in the App Store, the sixth time Google has surpassed 5 billion downloads after Chrome, Gmail, Maps, Search and YouTube. So Google’s decision surprised many users.
Figures . . . Google abandons modular mobile project Project Ara due to distance from commercialization (Source: YouTube Screenshot)
In 2016, Google abandoned its modular mobile phone project Project Ara because it was too far away from commercialization. Motorola launched the project in 2013 to “change hardware like Android change software” and assemble its own smartphone like Lego, ideally for a lifetime. When Lenovo bought Motorola Mobility from Google in 2014, Google deliberately left the business behind. After years of research finding that the idea was difficult to achieve, the Ara project was sentenced to death.
Abandoning Project Ara is seen as an important example of Google’s post-Alphabet reforms, and it represents google’s start to rein in spending on projects that are underperforming in some markets, or Moonshot(which looks good but is hard to achieve for a while).
Google’s “Big Knife”
A few months ago, Alphabet merged its Chronicle subsidiary, which it had just established early last year, into Google’s cloud division, and the original company disappeared. When the company was founded, industry insiders had high hopes that the digital “immune system” it was working on would revolutionize the cybersecurity industry, which is rife with ancient technologies such as antivirus and firewalls.
According to foreign media, Chronicle’s chief executive and chief security officer have left, the chief technology officer will leave later this month, and some employees will also quit. They argue that Chronicle’s original vision was put to the fore, “Chronicle is dead, Google killed it.”
Google has been dubbed a “big knife” by many netizens because it often cuts down features or services favored by some users and cuts down some of its subsidiaries as “original dreams”. If Google really has a department that specializes in evaluating and “optimizing” new projects, Larry Page and Ruth Porat must have played a decisive role.
In 2015, Google made dramatic organizational changes and architectural changes. Larry Page appointed Sandal Pichai to take over as CEO of Google, and he became CEO of Alphabet, the new parent company of Google. Ruth Pollat, the “most powerful woman on Wall Street” was also appointed Google’s CFO, reporting directly to Larry Page. Mr. Porat led the team in evaluating Alphabet’s cutting-edge projects on a weekly basis and then reporting to Google’s two founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who decided which projects to spend on and which businesses to cut.
In terms of restructuring content, Google’s core business, including search, advertising, maps, apps, YouTube, Android, and related technology infrastructure, became Alphabet’s business unit, while Google X, Nest, Nest, Fiber, Google Ventures then split into a self-financing independent company, distinct from the core business unit.
Shortly after the restructuring, Borat pushed a plan that Alphabet’s own market operations, computing platforms and other resources would no longer be offered free of charge to subsidiaries, and that the spin-off of a division like Google X Labs was now more like a regular start-up, such as Waymo, Loon, Wing, Makani, Verily, Google Glass Enterprise, and more, these projects are no longer resourced and funded by the parent company. The industry joked that Google had left the companies independently in order to cut them off more easily.
While Google X Moonshot Factor has attracted a lot of attention for Google, many projects have been suspended or terminated because they do not generate substantial revenue and profits.
Google argues that its core business has been severely disrupted by the innovation sector, even affecting the company’s own survival. That is true.
Figures . . . Alphabet’s other “bets” are some expensive hobbies (Source: Statista)
This year, Alphabet paid another $2.1 billion for Fitbit, the wearable device maker, after buying a smartwatch technology for $40 million. Wear OS, Google’s wearable device, has struggled for a long time, and some experts say it has not yet seen the feasibility and necessity of google’s acquisitions. There is reason to believe that the project will become one of the focus of the Big Knife as Google Glass was assigned to the smart home division in 2015.
The moves suggest that Alphabet will burn money on new projects, but that money will not be spent endlessly. Not yet that Larry Page has publicly commented on quantum computing, whether it will be held to the fore by him after winning the limelight, or will it be an exception to Alphabet’s “profit-first” commercial law? It’s still time to answer.