Forget Facebook. Forget Twitter. Even forget Microsoft and Apple. The future is being created at Google.

Imagine wearing Google Glass while playing videogames or building a new prototype with teammates gathered virtually in a dome – and nearby sits a 3D printer to produce the product. Google can do this. All this is run over Google Fiber at 1 gigabit or more per second. And its dominant search technology – the foundation of the company from its launch – delivers terabytes of big data for analysis in an eye blink.

The latest proof of Google’s tech leadership came over the weekend with the announcement of six new “Winter Wonderlabs,” which Google is launching just in time for the holiday season. But these are much, much more than popup stores.

For example, check out the “snow globe.” What’s up with this?

Each Wonderlabs  features a globe for playing games amid clouds of fake snow. Is this the next dimension in gaming? In virtual reality? In collaboration? 

Why not? After all, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is promising to deliver software-control automobiles. 

Unfortunately, the Triangle isn’t on the list for the first six Wonderlabs. We know the Triangle is a big blip on Google’s radar screen since it first chose to show off Google Glass – its wearable computer gear – in Durham. Plus, Google is teaming with The American Underground for a new “Tech Hub” concept. But the closest Wonderlab is located in Annapolis, Md.

A trip to the nation’s capital to check out the snow globe just might be worthwhile.

The First Holodeck?

“This holiday season, you’re invited to the Winter Wonderlab presented by Google,” the giant says. 

“Check out new gadgets like the Nexus 7, make a slow motion video in the giant snow globe, or just escape the holiday hustle with endless games, music, and videos.”

Imagine playing the latest 3D videogames on a new Sony PlayStation or XBox or Wii in a totally imersive environment where you are surrounded – actually in the middle – of the action?

Is this our first holodeck?

Beam me there, Scotty.

Google touts the Wonderlab as a “fun and interactive way to experience all of Google’s new gadgets in one place.”

No Glass – yet. But new Chromebooks and Nexus tablets. at least.

The hardware innovation at Google signifies why this company – not software plays like Facebook or Twitter – is building the future. Google is even threatening to take the cool tech mantle from Apple, which remains focused on PCs, tablets and perhaps wearable computers at some point. Microsoft is dabbling in devices and phones now – but is it too late? With Steve Ballmer leaving, who takes over?  Yes, post-Steve Jobs Apple and its smartphone rival Samsung are creating plenty of mobile toys. So, too, is Lenovo with its increasing variety of smart Internet-connected devices.

Eight Reasons to Love Google

But let’s face facts. Google has several big advantages.

1. Android, its operating system, is open to all developers

2. its search technology is still dominant, and its Google Books project last week was declared not to be a copyright violation, thus giving further legal standing to the world’s largest searchable library.

3. Google’s young, motivated management is clearly focused on building a community of devices from Glass to Motorola smartphones to laptops and tablets that are practical as well as fun

4. Google Plus is there to counter Facebook on the social media front. But at some point the Facebook fad and Twitter fascination will cool. What’s left at either company when that occurs?

5. Google is investing in its own Google Fiber Internet/broadband networks to push bandwidth speed to extremes.

6. Google is venturing into life science – a place most tech companies fear to tread

7. Google has so, so, so much money and isn’t afraid to spend it

8. And what are the secrets being built in its labs? The snow globe could be an example of many more projects to come.

Touting the Wonderlabs

Here’s how Google describes its new Wonderlabs:

  • PLAY ZONES…Experience Google’s new gadgets—from Nexus 7 to Chromecast to the latest Chromebooks—all in one place. Take a break from the mall madness and listen to music, watch videos, play games, or browse the web.
  • THE SNOW GLOBE…Sometimes what the hectic holidays need is some slow-mo. Bring friends or family members (we’ll provide the fake snow) and step into the giant Snow Globe to create amazing slow motion videos that are yours to keep and share.
  • ” COME CHILL WITH US. Winter Wonderlab is a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle.”

Oh, not to be forgotten is that big barge Google is building in San Francisco Bay.

Disney Land on water?