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Google plans to sell Boston Dynamics robotics division - report

Those worried about a future of Google-controlled robots taking over the world need fret no more, as the search engine giant has reportedly decided to sell off its advanced Boston Dynamics robotics research division.

Boston Dynamics

The sale comes as executives at Google parent Alphabet have begun to question whether the robotics efforts would yield a marketable product in the near future, according to Bloomberg. The company is working to ensure that each of its operating groups has a reasonable strategy for generating revenue as it seeks to attract more entrepreneurially-minded employees.

Google X executive Jonathan Rosenberg is said to have told members of Google's robotics team —including those at Boston Dynamics —that the division "cannot spend 30-plus percent of our resources on things that take ten years," adding that "there's some time frame that we need to be generating an amount of revenue that covers expenses and (that) needs to be a few years."

Toyota and Amazon, which each have significant investments in robotics, are tabbed as likely acquirers.

Boston Dynamics, thrust into the public consciousness through YouTube videos of its quadruped robots, was acquired by Google in 2013. The focus has since shifted toward humanoid robots, which is said to have caused some concern among Google's public relations staff.

"There's excitement from the tech press, but we're also starting to see some negative threads about it being terrifying, ready to take humans' jobs," Google X spokeswoman Courtney Hohne is said to have told colleagues. She added that the group would not "want to trigger a whole separate media cycle about where BD really is at Google."

It's not clear if the Boston Dynamics sale is representative of a larger drawdown in robotics research at Google, or whether the company is simply focusing its resources on what it views as more achievable goals.