10 things that make Google hot at 15
Internet giant Google has turned 15. Though long past its startup days, the company still retains its innovative zeal. Unlike companies that often turn rudderless when they grow too big, the number of years only seem to be adding to the company’s zest for next gen technology. With projects like Google Glass and driverless cars, Google now appears to be breaching barriers of sci-fi.
Here are 10 innovative or path-breaking ideas and products that Google has unveiled in the past few years (or is set to unveil in coming months) that
Google unveiled its first wearable computing device Glass in 2012, bringing a product that had been relegated only to science fiction till now. This gadget is an extension of Android smartphones and tablets and can be used to capture photos and videos, make phone calls, check out maps, read emails and text messages and perform various other tasks with just voice commands.
First of its kind, Google Glass has captured the imagination of not just the tech community but also the fashion fraternity.
Google’s thinktank has created an innovative solution to the problem of low web penetration in developing countries – balloons that beam down internet. As part of its Project Loon, Google sent out balloons that float in the stratosphere at a height of 20km and relay the internet to houses via a special antenna that captures the necessary signals.
The internet search titan aims to provide 3G-like speed via these internet balloons, which cover an area of 1,256 sq m each. Seeing an innovative and eco-friendly means to solve the problem of poor internet connectivity, several nations (including India) have shown keen interest in Google balloons.
Being an internet company, Google has envisioned laptops that are meant for the ‘connected generation,’ called Chromebooks. These laptops run on Google’s Chrome OS and do not support applications made for Windows and Mac operating systems. Instead, Chromebooks just have a built-in media player and internet browser. The web browser can be used to access the internet, write documents (via Google Docs) and perform common tasks.
With prices starting at $250, Chromebooks are cheaper than most tablets and laptops. However, presently Chromebooks are not available in many countries across the world. Recently, Google launched a $1,399 Chromebook Pixel that has features similar to that of a high-end Macbook.
Google driverless cars
Driverless cars are said to be the next big thing in the world of automobiles and Google is taking this big idea out to the real world. An idea from Google’s X Lab, driverless cars are currently being tested by the company in Nevada, Florida and California in the US. While Google has not announced any plans to commercialize these driverless cars, reports have said that the company may roll out the unmanned Robo-Taxi to ferry people.
Moto X’s voice recognition
The Moto X smartphone by Google’s Motorola division consists of the X8 mobile chip that helps give an enhanced user experience. This chipset consists of a 1.7GHz dual-core CPU, a quad-core Adreno GPU, which are standard features of any smartphone chipset. However, what sets this chip apart are its natural language processor and contextual awareness processor.
Moto X is said to be the phone that is always listening, meaning that if you say Okay Google even if the handset is sleeping, it will wake up and perform the required task. The natural language processor enables the phone to understand what the user means and the contextual awareness processor helps it know when to turn it to silent mode or which app to open when the phone is held in a certain way etc.
Google Street View
Google’s Street View project started in 2007 and has gone in full swing over the past few years, with several innovative features. Under this project, the internet search company shows panoramic imagery of various places around the world right on their desktop. You can even view the Street View images in 3D, provided you have the requisite red/cyan glasses.
Not only are the Street View photos available from desktops and mobile devices, but also on the Nintendo Wii U.
Google launched its Fibre internet service in 2011, under which it will provide web speed of 1Gbps. This service was first rolled out in Kansas and subsequently reached Missouri, Texas and Utah in the US. While the basic service comes with 1TB cloud storage and costs $70, the subscription with TV service offers free 1TB data on Google drive, 2TB digital video recording and a free Nexus 7 tablet.
The company also offers a free internet option, where users get 5Mbps speed, but comes with a $25 charge for 12 months.
The Android mobile operating system has taken the world by storm and approximately 80% of smartphones today are powered by it. Though it is not an original product (Google has acquired the company that made the OS), it did add its own twist to the software. Android was meant to be an operating system for digital cameras, but Google decided to turn it into a mobile software even before Apple came out with the first iPhone.
Android has grown in popularity on the back of its easy-to-use interface, open source nature and wide range of free apps. Google offers the OS to manufacturers for free, giving them the option to update Android versions on their devices as and when they like. This free-to-use nature of Android has propelled the rise of several mobile companies, such as Samsung, Huawei, ZTE, Micromax and Xiaomi.
Just like every electronics company today, Google is in the rat race of making smartwatches. The internet company recently acquired WIMM, a pioneer in making smartwatches. Expected to launch next year, this smartwatch is said to be quite similar to Google Glass. The product reportedly has been shown at three Google meetings – Moutainview, Manchester and Berlin, though its global unveiling is still awaited.
Google’s smartwatch is important for the tech world because it may be different from similar products by companies like Samsung, Sony, Pebble etc, considering the lukewarm response they have got till now.