Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Google Software Transportation United States Hardware Technology

Alphabet's 'Project Wing' Drone Service Nixes Starbucks Partnership (bloomberg.com) 20

Bloomberg is reporting that Google's parent company Alphabet is tightening the reigns on Project Wing, a unit of Alphabet's X research lab, by "trimming headcount and shelving initiatives." What's more is that they've reportedly nixed a partnership with Starbucks. Bloomberg reports: Following the departure of project leader Dave Vos in October, the unit also froze hiring and began asking some staff to seek jobs elsewhere in the company, according to some of those people [familiar with the decision]. The decisions are part of a broader Alphabet effort to rein in spending and try to turn more experimental projects from loss-making risky bets into real businesses. Drones are in a particularly knotty place. U.S. federal regulation does not yet allow for delivery, except in select test zones. However, Alphabet's deceleration comes as other technology companies, including Amazon.com Inc., plow money into drone delivery. In August, Project Wing won approval for test flights at a U.S. site, part of a White House effort to encourage unmanned vehicle delivery. Then in September, Alphabet announced a new foray: a partnership with Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. to deliver food via drone at Virginia Tech. Alphabet was in advanced talks with Starbucks and had tested delivery with the coffee-chain operator, according to two people familiar with the plans. Those plans were nixed, largely over disagreements about the access to customer data that Alphabet wanted, according to a former X employee.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Alphabet's 'Project Wing' Drone Service Nixes Starbucks Partnership

Comments Filter:
  • by melted ( 227442 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2016 @08:55PM (#53242075) Homepage

    It's on its way to get canceled. The company doesn't sell much in the way of physical goods. They simply don't need a drone project. They spun it up for PR, but now that PR dividend is dwindling, they're probably looking to wrap it up. I'll give it another year or so.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      It's on its way to get canceled. The company doesn't sell much in the way of physical goods. They simply don't need a drone project. They spun it up for PR, but now that PR dividend is dwindling, they're probably looking to wrap it up. I'll give it another year or so.

      Or perhaps this is the reason:

      Alphabet was in advanced talks with Starbucks and had tested delivery with the coffee-chain operator, according to two people familiar with the plans. Those plans were nixed, largely over disagreements about the ac

      • Good for Starbucks. I bet Google wanted every single bit of customer information and Starbucks balked (or at least that's how it appears).
  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2016 @09:21PM (#53242165)

    Would you really want your cup of coffee delivered by drone?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Forget "Do No Evil". That's so...lame. The new company motto really describes Google, and what they are best at:

    "Google: trimming headcount and shelving initiatives."
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The decisions are part of a broader Alphabet effort to rein in spending and try to turn more experimental projects from loss-making risky bets into real businesses.

    I see Google being where MS was in the 90's and 2000's. They've been the reigning champ for so long they're more focused on quarterly results and not willing to take any substantial risks to innovate.

    Every project they kill makes people less and less likely to try their new services. The whole point of Alphabet was to separate the R&D from the profit driven business. Now it appears that profit driven business is leaking into R&D

  • >> plans were nixed, largely over disagreements about the access to customer data that Alphabet wanted

    Well, at least we finally understand the business model behind this "drone delivery" BS: Google gets your customer list, and you get a little PR bump by being able to talk about drones on local TV news.
  • Today I learned a lot from your website,, If you have a problem we come with a recommendation for us, please visit my website Obat Sinusitis [agaricpro.info]
  • What the HELL was Starbucks thinking?

    Does China even drink coffee? Would they settle for the crap sold by Starbucks? When China adopts western stuff, they tend to want the best. Which Starbucks is not.

    Do they even WANT coffee? What else can Starbucks even sell? Tea?

    China pretty much invented tea. Or at least certainly mastered it, centuries ago. They have their own ways of preparing it and drinking it which have NOTHING to do with American concepts of tea, except water is nominally involved.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      China pretty much invented tea. Or at least certainly mastered it, centuries ago. They have their own ways of preparing it and drinking it which have NOTHING to do with American concepts of tea, except water is nominally involved. They do not need Starbucks to have tea. They don't want American tea.

      China and India, actually. And Marco Polo. And the Silk Road bringing it to Europe and the Middle East where tea is popular.

      And American Tea is really a derivation of English Tea, from the New World days. (Rememb

  • The problem with "pie in the sky" research is that for every honest-to-god researcher you attract a dozen charlatans that promise you the world in your hand in ten years. Then the system selects for the best charlatans, the ones that make you believe the breakthrough is around the corner, even though there is no hard evidence for it. The MIT Media Lab blew through billions of dollars in this mode, with little to show for it.

    AI has gone through several cycles of this, with the end result that generally weake

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling

Working...