That’s my largest fear with the Google X lab. Google has proven many times over that they can indeed make some really cool stuff. The problem is that they largely fail at creating practical, consumer, applications for their products that they dream up (Google Wave, for example. Google TV as another example.)
And that starts with having no coherent idea of where they’re going. They don’t know what their long-term plan is, and so they have no strategic focus.
All of these projects that sometimes turn into something and sometimes don’t would be fine if Google had a very well defined idea of what the company is and what it does so they could integrate the good ones. But they don’t, so we end up with Google doing a bunch of things that don’t really fit together into a greater whole.
Jobs reportedly told Larry Page that Google needs to focus on a few things and do them well. That’s precisely what he meant: figure out who you are, get rid of the things that don’t fit that, and build from there.