Google is not very popular with Bill Gates. The Microsoft founder is fond of sarcasm when it comes to the kid-gloves treatment he believes Google gets. In an interview with the AP last week, he suggested that Google might be exploring a thus-far untapped market. “I hear they’re coming out with a robot that will cook hamburgers, too. Let’s spread that rumor—there’s nothing they can’t do,” he said jokingly. This idea actually might be crazy enough to work. Google’s founders claim they enter markets that are large and currently untapped. The hamburger market is huge, though admittedly largely well served, at least in places with In-N-Out Burgers. Yet the robot part is intriguing. Despite the promises of the Jetsons, our robots are mostly confined to assembly lines. I’m thinking the hamburger-cooking robot could be huge. The Japanese would snap these up in a second, though they’d have to learn to cook different food. The Economist’s Christmas issue had an intriguing story about how much the Japanese loves robots, in large part because they find them obedient. Bill probably wishes Google was more robotlike.
—Posted by Brian Morrissey