Google Launches “Solve For X” Website, The New Home For Its Global Innovations Conference

Google today launched a somewhat mysterious website called “Solve for X,” which will now be the official homepage for a conference by the same name. Solve for X, according to the description provided, seems similar in format to the series of conferences from TED, but with more of a scientific focus.

The invite-only gathering is designed to attract global innovators who present short, technology-focused presentations on topics like low-energy desalination, e-waste mining, crowd-sourced protein folding, stretchable silicon biosensers, climate change, and more.

The website describes Solve for X as:

“A place where the curious can go to hear and discuss radical technology ideas for solving global problems. Radical in the sense that the solutions could help billions of people. Radical in the sense that the audaciousness of the proposals makes them sound like science fiction. And radical in the sense that there is some real technology breakthrough on the horizon to give us all hope that these ideas could really be brought to life.”

Although the site is still locked down as of this morning (there’s an email input form so you can be notified when it opens up), there have been hints to its nature posted by Richard W. DeVaul, a researcher for Google who describes his occupation as “Rapid Evaluator (mad scientist).”

In addition, some people have dug around in the CSS code to try and learn more information about the event.

In the code, you’ll find details on how the Solve for X presentations work. For example, presentations can only last 12 minutes, and must answer three questions:

  1. What is the huge problem you’re focused on fixing?
  2. What is the product or service that sounds like science fiction but that, if made, would radically improve the problem you just described?
  3. What specifically is the science or technology breakthrough that can give us all hope that such a product or service can be made and released to the world within a decade?

Presenters are asked to go easy on the slideshows, and to consider using props and other visual aids instead.

Videos from the conference, which took place this month in San Jose, California, are expected to go live on the site later today. In the meantime, this Solve for X introductory video is online now: