Google is much more than just a search engine and the maker of Android. Google and its parent company Alphabet are undertaking some of the most innovative projects on the earth. From smart digital assistants to smart cities, from Google duplex to self-driving cars they pretty have something going on in every field. Let’s take a look to at Ten exciting ongoing google projects.
1) Makani Power
Saul Griffith, Don Montague, and Corwin Hardham found the company “Makani Power” in 2006. The company is based in California and specializes in airborne wind turbines. After revolutionizing the idea of wind power generation. Google acquired it in 2013 who believed they could contribute to the project. While substantial purpose flying generators are disfavoured due to the need to provide energy for flying the mass of the generator. To meet its goal of low-cost renewable energy. The Makani energy system uses independent wings which fly in circles and generate power via wind turbines which are mounted upon the main wing.
The generated electricity is transmitted to the ground through an electrical cable, placed within the kite’s tether. In December 2016, Makani operated for the first time a 600 kW prototype with a wingspan of 28 meters.
2) Project Loon
Project Loon is a research project with the aim of providing Internet connectivity in remote areas. To accomplish the task the project uses high-altitude balloons which are placed in the stratosphere at an altitude of about 11 miles to create a wireless aerial network. The course of the floating balloons can be altered by the changing their height in the stratosphere to float to the desired wind layer after identifying it using wind data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Users of the service connection to the network using a particular antenna attached to their building. The signal travels from balloon to balloon, then to a ground-based station connected to an ISP, then onto the global Internet.
The system wants to bring Internet access to the areas which are poorly served by existing provisions and to also improve communication during natural disasters. The balloons use directional antennas – to transmit signals to ground stations or LTE users. The whole infrastructure is based on LTE.
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3) Google Assistant
Perhaps the most famous and commercially available. Google Assistant is a virtual assistant available on mobile phones and smart home devices. Unlike Google Now it’s predecessor, the Assistant can engage in two-way conversations with the user. The User interacts with the Google Assistant through natural voice, though keyboard support is also there just in case.
In a similar fashion to Google Now, the Assistant can search the net, schedule events and adjust hardware settings on the user’s device. Recently Google has announced that the Assistant will be able to identify objects and gather visual data through the device’s camera, as well as identification of songs.
4) Google Duplex
Google shocked the world at Google I/O 2018 with the introduction of “Duplex”. In the demo, the A.I. was able to handle the conversation over the phone in a very realistic manner. Although this wowed pretty much all the audience in attendance and people watching at home, the AI failed to mention the legal issues of the A.I. such as identification and recording conversations. However, sometimes after they told in an interview that the final product would identify itself and that the other person is talking to a digital assistant. Also, they said that the product would not be used in states where consent is required to record the call.
5) Project Wing
Project Wing is an ongoing drone delivery experimental project that is hoping to be the ‘next generation’ of the technology, says the company’s website. The first experimental flight took place in Queensland, Australia, and the company has run thousands of trial flights since. The drones fly at altitudes of around 500 feet, and the current prototypes have fixed wings just like an airplane, rotors like a helicopter. The prototypes avoid bumping into one another by using pre-planned routes and using sensors and algorithms detect other drones.
It is not just the drones but also the infrastructure that interests the company. Project Wing has developed an airspace traffic management platform to allow multiple drones to fly with other airborne gadgets.
The company has partnered with a local Mexican restaurant the team has been delivering burritos successfully.
6) Google Contact Lens
Google Contact Lens is a contact lens project underway since January 2014. The lens aims to assist people with diabetes by continually measuring the glucose levels in their tears. The project is underway at Verily, an independent subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. The lens consists of a wireless chip and a miniaturized glucose sensor. The plan is that the controller will gather and analyze data and will send the data to an external device via the antenna. It has been mentioned that there are plans to add a light to warn the user if the glucose level goes above or below a specific level. The performance of the lens in a windy environment is still under study and observation.
7) Project Tango
Tango (formerly Project Tango) is an AR platform, developed by Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP), a division of Google. It uses computer vision to allow mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to determine their position relative to the surrounding around them without the use of any GPS or other external signals. This will allow developers to create experiences that include indoor navigation, 3D mapping, physical space measurement and much more. It was one of the first product to emerge from ATAP.
Both Qualcomm and Intel announced that they are developing Tango based reference devices as models for device manufacturers in 2015. At Lenovo Tech World 2016, Lenovo launched the world’s first consumer tango phone naming it well, “Tango”.
8) SideWalk Labs
Aplahbet’s sidewalk labs is collaborating with the Canadian government on a high tech project for Toronto city’s industrial waterfront. The project aims to base the designs regarding design, policy, and technology on the data from a network of sensors that gather information on virtually everything such as air quality, noise levels, and people activities. The plan includes motorized and shared vehicles. Within the city, Robots would be employed for menial chores. Sidewalk labs would share access to the software systems so that other companies could build on it is similar to what Google does on Android.
But the project has also raised some issues regarding data governance and privacy as the company wants to monitor public infrastructure closely. But Sidewalk says that it can work with the community and the local government to ease these worries.
9) Project Waymo
The idea of self-driving cars is gaining momentum every single day. Tesla rolled out a self- driving update for its Teslas and Ford promising fully autonomous vehicles (no steering wheels no driver) by 2021. Well, Google was working on it since 2009. The name is misleading. “Waymo” is a name for the self-driving technology company owned by Alphabet. John Krafcik found the company in December of 2016, as a spin-off of the initial project. According to the company CEO John Krafcik, they have now over 2 million self-driven miles, which has provided them with “over 300 years of human driving experience.” Well, the company is yet to provide a publicly available model for the car. However, the company plans to release a driverless vehicle in 2020. It is too early to comment on what form it will take.
10) Google Lens
Google announced Google Lens at I/O 2017 for providing contextual data through visual analysis. When you direct your phone at an object, Google Lens attempts to identify the object and provide with web results. For instance, when pointed at a Wi-Fi label containing the network name and password, it will automatically connect to the network. Now, the lens is a part of Google Photos and Assistant apps
I am a sophomore at IIT Roorkee currently pursuing my B.tech in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering.