MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS SF) — You get a text message on your Google phone from your blood-born Google nano sensors saying you need more vitamin D, so you turn off your Chromecast, turn on your Google connected home security system, pop in your Google anti-UV contact lenses, hop in your Google car to go to a beach that Google’s YouTube predicted you would like, then order up a burger and ice cream sundae to be delivered by Google drone, that you’ll eat with your Google Spoon, all coordinated using WiFi from Google balloons and satellites hovering above the Earth. Powered by Google’s Kite turbines. And you’ll do it all because Google’s Calico Lifespan project alerted you this morning that you have exactly 22 years, 5 months left of projected life left, and you want to enjoy every Google-connected minute of it.
Every one of these is an actual project Google is investing time, money, and in some cases, entire divisions to make a reality. Many already delivered on their initial goals. Some of them Google has bought outright, and began improving on the technologies. Others are home grown.
Whichever way they came to be under the Google umbrella (or Google tentacles, depending on your view of massive corporations that explore diverse products), they show how Google is increasingly entrenched in every part of our lives.
It’s all public information, all available by–you guessed it: Googling it.
And, expect this list to grow. Astro Teller (yes, that’s his real name) who runs the “moon shot” programs at Google X tells Forbes they reject 100 projects every year or more, including the Google Jetpack (too inefficient) and the Google Hoverboard (not practical).
16 GOOGLE PROJECTS THAT COULD CHANGE THE WORLD and CHANGE YOUR LIFE
1. GOOGLE “TERMINATOR”: This 6 foot, 2-inch tall, 330 pound robot named “Ian” is not really a killer, but it could be. It looks like the Terminator, but its stated skills include carrying a fire hose, driving a car, and apparently doing moves from The Karate Kid. It’s a product of Boston Dynamics, a Google-owned subsidiary, that does contract work for DARPA, the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corp in addition to private companies like Sony.
The same Google company has also developed a somewhat terrifying, 160-pound robotic “dog” that does not lick your hand and play fetch, but rather can carry military payloads into combat zones, while surviving swift kicks to the head. MORE: Robot Dog
2. GOOGLE CAR: Autonomous Vehicles (Without Steering Wheels!)
In as little as 24 months, Google believes its self-driving cars will be on public roads. The cars are already tooling around the Peninsula, and so far, the sensors and navigation seem to have no trouble stopping, turning, and sensing everything around them. Many test vehicles currently on public roads are normal cars retrofitted with the sensors, cameras and computers. The newer cars, actually built by Google, are completely self-driving, and don’t even have a steering wheel.
Some futurists believe thousands of these cars could be in urban environments in just 10 years, radically altering traffic, the entire parking lot industry, and the entire concept of taxis, Uber, and car ownership. READ: How Uber’s Autonomous Cars Will Destroy 10 Million Jobs And Reshape The Economy by 2025
3. GOOGLE BOAT: Yep, similar concept, only this one is at sea, and its focus is not moving humans but getting its cameras in place to map the shoreline and track rising sea levels. See it in action.
4. GOOGLE PILL: “Nanoparticle Platform”
A “pill” would unleash microscopic (nano-scale) particles into your bloodstream to sense heart disease, cancer and any other programmed conditions. This Google X project marries magnetic material with proteins that can detect specific disease molecules, and then be “read” from outside the body using a wearable scanner like a watch, or your Google Android phone.
5. GOOGLE GENOMICS: “A Search Engine For Genes”
Part of Google Cloud, it’s software that stores the library of life. It gives developers an API to mine the entire genome — the DNA blueprint to create an organism — and compare genetic traits and anomalies. What you do with that data is up to you. Google just provides the storage and processing power.
And yes, you could decode your genome, and upload yourself, or at least the code to make your clone.
6. GOOGLE LIFESPAN: “Calico” or “California Life Company”
From Google itself: “Calico is a research and development company whose mission is to harness advanced technologies to increase our understanding of the biology that controls lifespan. We will use that knowledge to devise interventions that enable people to lead longer and healthier lives. Executing on this mission will require an unprecedented level of interdisciplinary effort and a long-term focus for which funding is already in place.”
7. GOOGLE DEODORANT? “Body Odor Solutions”
While this one may just be a fun patent Google picked up, because you know… it can, the company owns now the rights to a technology for a wearable device that senses your odor, and can release scents with a tiny fan. Additionally, because it’s Google, the device could connect to social networks to see where your friends are, and make sure you’re smelling your best if they come within a defined proximity, or help you plan a route to avoid them if you’re particularly foul smelling that day. QZ was one of the first to report the bizarre patent.
8. GOOGLE CONTACT LENSES:
Novartis has already licensed the Google X lens technology for use in measuring glucose levels, saving diabetics from jabbing themselves with a needle to test blood multiple times a day. The lenses have an antenna and sensor array the size of a speck of glitter that transmit the information to a larger wearable device. Just like the Google “Pill” concept, the lenses could also be used to test for breast, prostate, lung, and ovarian cancers because of proteins present in tears, and even deliver drugs, as reported by the MIT Technology Review.
9. GOOGLE MAPPING… YOUR HOME, YOUR OFFICE, YOUR GARAGE:
Project Tango is Google Streetview to the extreme. We’ll let Google describe it in their own words:
What if you could capture the dimensions of your home simply by walking around with your phone before you went furniture shopping? What if directions to a new location didn’t stop at the street address? What if you never again found yourself lost in a new building? What if the visually-impaired could navigate unassisted in unfamiliar indoor places? What if you could search for a product and see where the exact shelf is located in a super-store?
Imagine playing hide-and-seek in your house with your favorite game character, or transforming the hallways into a tree-lined path. Imagine competing against a friend for control over territories in your home with your own miniature army, or hiding secret virtual treasures in physical places around the world?
10. GOOGLE DEEPMIND: Artificial Intelligence
Google is deeply involved in developing artificial intelligence. (MORE: Google’s AI Lab) Besides letting you talk to your phone with natural language, Google really wants artificial intelligence to pore through massive databases, gleaning meaning from databases so vast, it would take humans millions of years to read them, let alone draw conclusions about the data. The DeepMind software program uses AI techniques known as deep and reinforcement learning to take control of a real-world environment, according to a paper published in Nature. Google tested it recently by letting it play Atari games to see if it could figure out what to do on its own. It did. Next, it might be unleashed on more beneficial tasks for society.
11. GOOGLE NEST: Home Security, And Then Some
The Nest project, also combined with Drop Cam after Google purchased the simple wireless security camera system, puts control and surveillance of your home under Google’s… I mean your control. <Re/Code> is quick to point out that Google keeps its name conspicuously absent from the national television ads for the system. Cute, destructive kids make for an amusing video advertisement for “A More Thoughtful Home”
Thermostats program themselves, smoke alarms alert you if something happens, and Drop Cams let you watch your cat nap (or eat your houseplants).
It’s much more ingrained in your life than you would think though, solving problems you didn’t know existed.
It shuts on and off devices based on electrical rates, or puts them in quiet mode when you’re in the house, and regular mode when you leave. It knows where you are and adjusts your home temperature. It ties into your phone and even your lights to alert or flash colors at you if something is wrong.
12. GOOGLE AIRBORNE DRONES:
For over two years, Google X labs has been working on Project Wing to deliver items by small remote controlled drone or “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle” (UAV), according to the first exclusive report last summer by The Atlantic. Tests have been going on Down Under, as Australia’s commercial drone rules are far more relaxed than in America where the Federal Aviation Administration bans most commercial flights. An MIT roboticist on leave, and an Australian drone maker, Unmanned Systems Australia, are working on the small craft that lands on its tail like a helicopter, but can fly straight like a plane, and deliver packages on a little airborne winch.
13. GOOGLE BALLOON: “Project Loon”
When word first surfaced of this Internet in the Sky project, many thought it was a hoax, but Google really is “loony” enough to attempt Project Loon — circling the Earth with Internet-connected WiFi balloons, and making connectivity (and its search engine) available to everyone, everywhere.
In the “adorable” video voiced by a kid, Google points out that 2/3 of the world’s population cannot get online, and that means no online learning, no remote doctors, no weather data, and… again, no Google Search.
14. GOOGLE SPOON: Liftware
This may be the most obscure project a search engine and online advertising company could get involved with, but Google has perfected a spoon that people with Parkinson’s Disease can use to eat with. It’s robotic, gyroscopic, and amazingly effective at restoring some of the dignity of being able to feed oneself back to patients with the tremor-inducing disease.
15. GOOGLE KITES: “Wind Turbines, At High Altitude”
Google knows we need power to make its stuff work. They have a solution for that.
They bought Makani, maker of wind turbines, and one product is a super-light, turbine system mounted on a kite, that can be flown where winds are extremely strong, and generate more power than they could closer to the ground.
It looks like a plane, but instead of using its propellers for power, it GENERATES power with them (once it gets into the air). The electricity travels back down the tether to a small ground station, giving the benefit of a turbine, without the giant spinning pinwheels. And yes, they have video on YouTube showing a prototype already working.
16. GOOGLE MOON COMPUTERS:
Google needs extraordinary processing power. As processors get smaller, the Holy Grail of computing is a quantum computer–actually using particles smaller than an atom– to do the processing and data storage. While current test models like the D-Wave can be anywhere from 35,000 times faster, to 100 times slower than regular computers depending on the speed test, in the future quantum computing promises to do amazing things for storing more data than ever dreamed possible, and processing it. The only drawback?
Quantum computers need temperatures colder than any freezer on Earth could ever reach. The solution?
As futurist and Databricks big data guru Paco Nathan described at a Galvanize University presentation in San Francisco’s SoMa, Google is likely researching a lunar base, where a quantum computer farm could be set up in a dark polar crater, where temperatures approach absolute zero, and quantum computing becomes possible, using laser beams to transmit data back and forth to Earth. His evidence of this big picture project? The Google Lunar X Prize already in competition by aerospace companies, and Google’s Quantum Computing plug-in module for Minecraft, to inspire the next generation of computer science / aerospace engineers / Googlers.
The role of organizing the world’s information expands to anything that we use. For this story, we searched “Google Light” and sure enough, Google developed a lightbulb, all controlled by an Android phone, using its protocol for connecting everything in the home (see above entry for Google Nest).
SEE MORE GOOGLE: New Google Headquarters Renderings Unveiled
Google has the market capitalization, cash flow, and corporate culture to pour money into “moon shot” projects, and because it’s already finding mind-boggling success with concepts that were impossible, improbable, and laughable ten years ago–like the self-driving car–Google is encouraged to do more.
The question we as consumers need to keep asking is, should we and do we continue to trust Google with so much of our information?