Business Take: Will Google's Self-Driving Car Business Be Bigger Than its Search Business?

The search giant has been moving forward with self-driving cars. Will that become its identity?

Jun 3, 2014 at 11:59AM

Though people think of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) as a search engine, the company has a number of products in the pipeline that could radically change its business going forward. One of those -- the driverless car -- moved a step closer to reality as the company unveiled a new prototype last week.

"They've developed a car that doesn't even tempt you to drive. It has no wheel and it has no pedals," said host Jason Hellmann on Business Take, the show that gives you the Foolish perspective on the most important business stories of the week  

The new vehicle, which looks a bit like a futuristic version of a child's Little Tikes car, is notable because it has nothing to do with Google as we know it now. Though in some ways driverless vehicles are a logical extension of Google's GPS services, it's a huge departure from what has been the company's core business. 

Google Car

 Little Tikes, left, has a wheel but it does not have an engine or gas pedals.

Hellmann asked Business Take panelist Daniel Kline whether in 20 years we would think of the brand as a search or a car company.

"I don't think they are going to be a self-driving car company," Kline said. "I still think the self-driving car is a novelty. Maybe there will be cities that employ the self-driving cars."

Kline added that New York City or Disney World might employ the technology, but it's hard to imagine a world in which Americans give up their vehicles. 

"It feels to me like the Segway ... not a practical item," Kline said.

"I disagree," Hellmann argued. "I see self-driving cars as a really exciting thing that Americans can really get behind."

Hellmann cited the productivity advantages of being able to do other things while traveling. He also brought up the fact that self-driving cars bring up huge insurance questions. 

"What happens when your self-driving car gets in an accident?" Hellmann asked.

Overall if self-driving cars become the norm it should lower costs across everything from insurance to health care, police, and other costs related to driving and accidents. The challenge for Google is handling liability for whatever accidents occur. 

"Google's going to sued," Kline said. "But that may be a relatively trivial expense compared to the millions of these cars it could sell. That might just be an acceptable cost of doing business."

Do you believe self-driving cars will be how people know Google in the future? Watch the full video then share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Are you ready for this $14.4 trillion revolution?
Have you ever dreamed of traveling back in time and telling your younger self to invest in Apple? Or to load up on Amazon.com at its IPO, and then just keep holding? We haven't mastered time travel, but there is a way to get out ahead of the next big thing. The secret is to find a small-cap "pure-play" and then watch as the industry -- and your company -- enjoy those same explosive returns. Our team of equity analysts has identified one stock that's ready for stunning profits with the growth of a $14.4 TRILLION industry. You can't travel back in time, but you can set up your future. Click here for the whole story in our eye-opening report.

Daniel Kline has no position in any stocks mentioned. Jason Hellmann has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Google (C shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of Google (C shares). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at www.fool.com/podcasts.

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to www.fool.com/podcasts, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.

 


Compare Brokers