Google's 10 Oddest, Most Intriguing Works in Progress

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2014-01-29 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Google on Jan. 27 announced that it acquired DeepMind, an artificial intelligence company whose technology the search giant is planning to use in conjunction with its development efforts in robotics. The acquisition, just the latest in a long line of robotics-related purchases by Google, spoke to the many ventures the company is quietly working on and how it believes that it can be more than just a search and advertising company. The acquisition also brought to the fore the many technologies that Google is working on that go above and way beyond its bread-and-butter businesses. While search and advertising might be the reason it's successful today, in the coming years, there's a good chance that a technology some might not associate with Google could substantially change our lives or add to the company's bottom line. Given the importance—and in some cases, downright astonishing nature—of those technologies, eWEEK wanted to examine what the search company is working on to impact our lives in the future. If even just some of these technologies eventually make their way to the market, we could be living in a much different world—courtesy of Google.

 
 
 
  • Google's 10 Oddest, Most Intriguing Works in Progress

    By Don Reisinger
    Google's 10 Oddest, Most Intriguing Works in Progress
  • Google Invests Heavily in Robots

    When it was announced that Google had acquired DeepMind, the first thought that came to any Google-watcher's mind was robots. In just the past year, Google has made nearly 10 robotics-related acquisitions and has invested heavily in places like Japan, where robotics is developing at a rapid pace. The company has also put Andy Rubin in charge of that effort. With the addition of DeepMind's technology, expect Google's hopes of creating a high-end robotic experience to come to fruition eventually.
    Google Invests Heavily in Robots
  • Google Experimenting With Taxi Services

    Here's an odd one: Google was recently awarded a patent on a technology that would allow consumers to get free taxi rides. The impetus for the taxi company to offer such a service is that it would sell ads through Google's services and—according to the patent filing—potentially generate more revenue. Is Google bringing its digital-advertising strategy to the real world?
    Google Experimenting With Taxi Services
  • Google Joins Automakers in Developing Driverless Cars

    There's nothing more odd or interesting in Google's portfolio of test technologies than the company's driverless car. Although it's still years from actually getting on the road in large numbers and gaining regulatory approval, the concept works somewhat well. And now other carmakers, like Honda, are reportedly investing in a similar technology. The race is on for the driverless car.
    Google Joins Automakers in Developing Driverless Cars
  • Google Aims for the Moon

    Google wants to go back to the moon. But rather than do all the work itself, the company is holding a contest, called the Lunar X Prize, that rewards companies, organizations, groups, institutions and others interested in going galactic for the progress they make toward getting to the moon. To win the grand prize, a team must get a lunar rover onto the moon, drive it 500 meters and send back two "Mooncasts." Google is giving out $40 million in prizes, but participants must get to the moon by Dec. 31, 2015, so the clock is ticking.
    Google Aims for the Moon
  • Google Fiber Growing Slowly

    Google Fiber is the search giant's foray into bank end of the Internet business. Although Google Fiber has been slow to build out, the service is offering extremely fast Internet speeds. Google Fiber is supposed to be expanding as time goes on, but for now, it's up and running in Kansas City.
    Google Fiber Growing Slowly
  • Project Loon Floats Trial Balloons

    Project Loon is a fascinating idea that could go a long way in improving the lives of those in rural or underdeveloped areas. The idea is simple: Google will float balloons over the designated areas and provide an Internet signal to those living there. Google plans to focus on areas in which the Internet isn't available or is hard to come by.
    Project Loon Floats Trial Balloons
  • Smart Contact Lens Do More Than Sharpen Vision

    Google earlier this month introduced its "smart contact lens project." The contact lens will be worn on a person's eye and will measure glucose levels every second. The technology would act as an early warning system for those who have diabetes or are at risk of getting it. Google is already working with the Federal Drug Administration to see if it can bring the technology to the market.
    Smart Contact Lens Do More Than Sharpen Vision
  • Calico Tackling Health, Wellness Issues

    Google wants you to live longer. That's why the company announced that it has formed a subsidiary, known as Calico, that will tackle health and well-being. The company will try to use technology to make people healthier, reverse aging and ultimately live longer. Interesting fact: It's being run by Arthur D. Levinson, Apple's chairman.
    Calico Tackling Health, Wellness Issues
  • Google Expands Renewable Wind Energy Resources

    Through its "green" efforts, Google has relied heavily upon wind farms to power its data centers and ultimately help it achieve its goal of powering its operation with 100 percent renewable energy. Google earlier this month bought a second wind farm in Texas and has invested in four new wind farms in Sweden. Don't be surprised if a Google wind farm pops up in a neighborhood near you.
    Google Expands Renewable Wind Energy Resources
  • Google X Envisions Space Elevators

    Google X is a semi-secret organization within the search giant that is charged with coming up with ideas that will change the way we live our lives in the future. Last year, the organization made waves when it was announced that Google X was looking into developing a space elevator to lift people and payloads into orbit. Such a technology is probably years away, but it's not as far-fetched as it sounds and NASA has been working on this idea for many years.
    Google X Envisions Space Elevators
 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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