Google is an American transnational public corporation. Annually, the company invests a considerable sum of money in internet search, cloud computing and other technologies. Today, Google gets much of profit primarily from the AdWords advertising program. It also creates a lot of unique and interactive online services replacing not only many similar online projects, but also the software for PC. The company’s goal is to link all users’ activities with numerous Google services. For a long time, Google was indeed a spider. Moreover, a huge number of company’s services are closely connected with the search of some specialized information. Moreover, the company is constantly hiring not only creative programmers, but also talented strategists. As a result, Google expands its activities very rapidly. Nowadays, every its innovation is apprehended with a bang by the online community. Furthermore, they are always followed by such epithets as: first, unique and successful. Today, nine out of ten people still believe that Google is a search engine. Others responders also name mail and maps. It is interesting that they are all correct, but not completely. The thing is that, Google has already transformed from a simple online spider to an internet giant by developing products and services that do not belong to their primarily sources of income. Thus, the aim of the research paper is to discover company’s currently developing technologies as well as services that differ from their main sources of income (search and advertising features).
Secretive Google’s Laboratory
Today, a lot of people talk about a very secretive Google’s laboratory located somewhere in the Bay Area, North California. It is called Google X. There, the Internet giant is working on its most innovative and original ideas, such as driverless cars, robots for various purposes etc. Describing this lab, Miller and Bilton from the New York Times stated:
It’s a place where your refrigerator could be connected to the Internet, so it could order groceries when they ran low. Your dinner plate could post to a social network what you’re eating. Your robot could go to the office while you stay home in your pajamas. And you could, perhaps, take an elevator to outer space. These are just a few of the dreams being chased at Google X, the clandestine lab where Google is tackling a list of 100 shoot-for-the-stars ideas. In interviews, a dozen people discussed the list; some work at the lab or elsewhere at Google, and some have been briefed on the project. But none would speak for attribution because Google is so secretive about the effort that many employees do not even know the lab exists.
A manager of Public Relations, Jill Hazelbaker, also refused to comment on the existence of the Google X laboratory. However, she said that investment in innovative projects was an important part of the company’s long-term development strategy. There is also some information proving that Sergey Brin (Google co-founder) is currently working at this laboratory. Furthermore, Brin together with other founders have approved the list of the future Google products and services. In particular, machines operated without a driver. These cars are being already tested on California’s roads. The company is planning to start their mass production in the near future.
Google X is currently working on another project called “space elevators”. The idea is even more fantastic than driverless cars. These “elevators” would get information as well as launch objects into space without using rockets.
In addition, company’s scientists are actively working on improving robots. It is planned to use them in different occasions, starting from collecting information to performing some domestic work.
Additionally, one of Google’s engineers said the laboratory was as secretive as the CIA. He also informed that the laboratory has two offices; one is less important (in Mountain View), while the location of the other is absolutely unknown.
Google Explorer Edition is probably one of the last Google’s X products. These are special glasses which would probably become an integral part of everyday human life in the near future.
Glasses work as a video camera, transferring images in the real time. During the presentation, Google assistants skydived from the airship, hovering over a megalopolis. They landed on the roof of the nearby building. After that, the glasses were delivered to the conference room. Picture of the “journey” was broadcasted by the new item and immediately transmitted to the big screen in the conference room.
Sergey Brin announced that the new device is capable to transmit videos as well as take photos. It gives the possibility to be in front of the whole planet and millions of people can see the same in an instant.
The display is located just above the eyes, so that the user is not distracted from his/her main activities. However, new glasses did not perform all the functions as it had been promised before, including sending voice messages, integrated navigation and scheduling meetings. The company notes that works on the revolutionary device are still being carried on. According to Pogue D. (2012):
Google Glass is still at a very, very early stage. Lots of factors still haven’t been finalized, including what Glass will do, what the interface will look like, how it will work, and so on. Google doesn’t want to get the public excited about some feature that may not materialize in the final version. (At the moment, Google is planning to offer the prototypes to developers next year — for $1,500 — in anticipation of selling Glass to the public in, perhaps, 2014.) When you actually handle these things, you can’t believe how little they weigh. Less than a pair of sunglasses, in my estimation. Glass is an absolutely astonishing feat of miniaturization and integration.
Thus, Google Glass has many advantages. First of all, it helps an ordinary user, sitting in front of the screen see the whole world. Furthermore, engineers promise to include a lot of other useful things in this devise, such as voice massages, integrated navigation etc. All of these would only make it even more useful and popular.
Google’s Service Called “Sky”
Not so long ago, Google and X Prize Foundation related about the beginning of a new project. It presupposes creation and sending a mobile robot to the Moon’s surface.
For a long time, a very popular Google Earth service, gives the opportunity to look at the Earth from space. Some time ago, Google launched another service called “Sky”. It allows watching stars as well as galaxies from the Earth. To do this, company used a lot of detailed star charts and pictures taken by the Hubble telescope. In addition to the starry sky, there are also available maps of the Moon and Mars. It is evident that, at least, part of Google’s workforce is obsessed with cosmos.
X Prize has recently decided to launch a new project aiming to explore the Moon. In order to win the prize in 20 million dollars from Google, the company has to land a spacecraft on a Moon’s surface. It has to drive at least 500 meters and send some videos and photos to the Earth. The team, whose machine drives only several meters and sends some information, would get only five million dollars.
The Google Lunar X Prize competition is created to inspire engineers and entrepreneurs to develop some low-cost methods of space exploration. The main purpose of such projects is to promote a breakthrough in science and technology, as well as reduce the flight costs to the Moon. Gregg Mariniak explained that space flights are so much expensive, first of all, because of the Earth’s gravity.
Thus, much money and efforts are spent to overcome gravity. Scientists state that it would be cheaper and easier to collect a spacecraft directly on the Moon’s surface. It also quite simple to find some necessary materials and to create shuttles there. The Moon can be also used to generate materials for the further space exploration. Hence, it would help to protect the Earth environment. Google says the most difficult thing is to make the first step. And it is exactly what the X Prize Fund does nowadays.
Google Driverless Car
Google driverless car is another company’s new project. It presupposes driving a car without a man’s control. The project is headed by an engineer Sebastian Tran. He is also the director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Stanford University. Furthermore, Tran is the founders of the Google Street View.
In June 2011, Google has successfully lobbied the Nevada law allowing using driverless vehicles on public roads. However, in Google refused to explain why the choice had been made in favor of Nevada. In September 2012, California authorities legalized the use of vehicles with an autopilot technology.
The technical director of the project, Chris Urmson, said that the system’s core was a 64-beam laser installed on the car roof. This device helps to generate a detailed, three-dimensional map of the surrounding environment. Then the machine compares laser data with précised maps of the world. Finally, it produces some special models that allow driving a car avoiding obstacles and problems with law. Some other sensors are also installed on the car, including four radars (on the front and rear bumpers), a camera (close to the rear view mirror), GPS and some other devices calculating the position of a car as well as the track movement.
Urmson has also suggested that driverless cars would soon become a common thing. Anyone would have an opportunity to use it if necessary. Urmson also noted that in order to use a car, one would only have to choose an appropriate option in the smartphone. Engineering Lead, Urmson C.(2012) stated:
Our vehicles, of which about a dozen are on the road at any given time, have now completed more than 300,000 miles of testing. They’ve covered a wide range of traffic conditions, and there hasn’t been a single accident under computer control. We’re encouraged by this progress, but there’s still a long road ahead. To provide the best experience we can, we’ll need to master snow-covered roadways, interpret temporary construction signals and handle other tricky situations that many drivers encounter.
Tran and many of his colleagues, including Google founders, believe that “smart” machine will make a car travel safer and more effective. Cars will go closer to each other. As a result it would increase the amount of space on the roads. Another its advantage is that a program responds faster than a person. Engineers believe that it would help to prevent accidents on the roads and, thus, save thousands of lives.
Hence, this project is greatly needed nowadays. First of all, it would be especially useful for blind people. They would get a possibility to drive their own cars. Second, it would make the situation on the roads more safe and secure. On the other hand, Google driverless car developers also realize that there are still a lot of problems they have to solve, including: car safety, legal liability etc. But all these will never make them stop developing their quite promising system.
Two years ago Google announced about the release of its new device called Google Nexus. This is the line of mobile devices operating on Android system. Today, company produces them in collaboration with several OEM hardware manufactures. Furthermore, nowadays, there are already several types of such phones, including: Nexus One, Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10.
The Taiwanese HTC is the manufacturer of the Nexus One. They put much effort in order the phone looked stylish and expensive.
One definitely cannot name it a clone of iPhone as it combines something from the HTC and Google. The frame consists of two elements. The back panel is of dark grey color. The second one is lighter, more solid and metallic. The smartphone is very thin. It has only 11.5 mm in width. Its “heart” is a very powerful chip from Quallcomm Snapdragon. Nexus has 512 MB of memory. There is also GSM, Wi-Fi, AGPS and a slot for micro SD. Its maximum memory can be 32 GB. All of these make the smartphone very fast. Its camera is a 5 megapixel sensor with a LED flash. The sound is loud enough. The companion is also very-well heard. The operation system is Android 2.1. Furthermore, a lot of users liked its 3.7 inches AMOLED-display. But it is not a multi-touch. It would be quite difficult to get used to it, especially if one had an iPhone before. Topolsky (2010) expressed a negative opinion about its display while describing its characteristics:
One other thing. As we mentioned in our impressions post, there’s no multitouch on the Nexus One. Now, we can live with a browser or Google Maps with no pinch-to-zoom, but not having a hardware keyboard hamstrings this device in other ways. For instance, gaming on the phone is pretty much abysmal save for a few accelerometer-based titles. And some of our favorite software, such as Nesoid (an NES emulator) is a total dead. For a phone which uses touch input as its main vehicle for navigation, relegating that experience to a single digit is really kind of bogus.
Thus, Nexus One is a good smartphone, but it definitely cannot be named a scientific progress. However it has no obvious advantages over Motorola Droid or iPhone. It goes without saying that next Google Nexus models are much better than Nexus One. But still company has several very strong competitors in this business, including: Apple and Samsung.
Nowadays, Google also pays much attention to alternative energy sources. The company gives much money on the development of new technologies in this sphere. Clean energy consumption has already become a major part of Google’s long-term policy strategy. Recently, the company has bought a substantial stake of the wind farm in Iowa. This purchasing is estimated in more than 75 million dollars. Thus, the total amount of company’s investments in alternative energy is more than 990 million dollars.
Furthermore, recently, Google has also signed a contract with a Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) Company from Oklahoma. According to this contract, company gets almost 48 MW of electric energy, generated by the wind farm.
Previously, Google has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the development of alternative sources of energy. For example, a 370-megawatt solar plant is currently being built in California.According to Google Green (2011) the amount of renewable energy consumed by the company in 2011 was as follows:
Furthermore, company’s major aim is to provide all their data centers with 100% renewable energy.
We’ve invested in the following projects:
- Spinning Spur Wind Farm: investing in West Texas wind
- Rippey Wind Farm: financing wind power in Iowa
- Recurrent Energy: large scale photovoltaic (PV) projects in California
- Clean Power Finance: financing for rooftop solar
- SolarCity: solar for thousands of residential rooftops
- Brightsource: concentrated solar power at scale
- Atlantic Wind Connection: a superhighway for clean energy transmission
- Alta Wind Energy Center: harnessing winds of the Mojave
- Shepherd’s Flat: one of the world’s largest wind farms
- Peace Garden Wind Farms: opening up more financing for wind
- Photovoltaic in Germany: investing in clean energy overseas
Google may even provide information on how effective electricity in the apartment or how much energy uses one’s washing machine or refrigerator. Company thinks the lack of information about the electricity use is a huge problem nowadays. That is why, there is a totally new device that helps people save no only some money, but also have a positive impact on the global warming problem. It is called a Google PowerMeter. Studies have shown that such kind of information provided by these devices can greatly reduce monthly electricity consumption from 5 to 15%. On a global scale, it will have tangible results. Thus, Google tries to help every user to consume electricity more wisely. A Google PowerMeter program almost in real time shows the number of consumed electricity.
Hence, Google has made a right decision to develop renewable sources of energy. First of all it is an environmentally clean and safe way to get energy. Second, company reduces the natural resources use. All these steps have made Greenpeace activists very happy. It means that the most forward-thinking and successful companies can cope with this task, but only when they are serious about transition to a clean energy.
Thus, today, Google is an international giant company. Its main sources of income are internet search and different advertising programs. Being an international company means to have an easy access to human as well as natural resources. And Google uses this opportunity very efficiently. Annually, company hires the best programmers, designers and strategists all over the world. In recent years, Google started to pay more attention to different projects that totally differ from its main sources of income. In order to develop new technologies Google has built a very secretive laboratory. It is so secretive that even company’s employees almost do not know anything about it. At this lab, Google directors have adopted a list of 100 future technologies. In a year, company promises to start selling their new product called Google Glass. It is a small portable devise allowing transmitting videos and making photos. Space and the Moon exploration is another project on which company is constantly working on. Google’s scientists state the Moon is a good place to explore space. In the future, it is planned to collect the spaceships on the Moon’s surface. Furthermore, there are almost all needed materials for it. Furthermore, Google also pays much attention to investment and development of the renewable sources of energy. In 2011, company’s data centers consumed almost 33 per cent of environmentally clean energy. And its number is increasing with every passing year. Google is planning to transmit to 100% renewable energy consumption in the future. It is also necessary to point out that all company’s goods and services are extremely popular in the society. All of these make the Google Corporation very honorable and respectful company with the promising future.