Ten Ways Google Has Innovated Since Its IPO Ten Years Ago
(NEW YORK) — When Google made its initial public offering 10 years ago Tuesday, the company set out on a path that has continually redefined how the world interacts with technology.
Raising $1.2 billion from its from its public debut on Aug. 19, 2004, Google was able to charge forward with an ambitious plan for expansion — attracting top talent, creating jobs and snapping up other companies, such as YouTube, along the way.
While the search still remains at the heart of the company, Google has used their IPO as a springboard for innovation. Here are 10 Google products that have reshaped the business and how we interact with technology in our daily routines.
1. Self-Driving Car
Google unveiled a prototype of its first self-driving car in May, but they haven’t been given the green light on the open road just yet.
The company has been testing autonomous vehicles for years and points out that having a self-driving car could remove the burden of travel for many.
The cars could also allow seniors who might not otherwise be able to drive the chance to enjoy mobility. And drunk driving? Not a problem when your car will drive itself.
The cars have logged more than half a million miles, according to Google.
2. Google Shopping Express
Google delivers search results and email, but the company has also branched out into same-day delivery of physical goods, meaning you never have to leave your house again. (Unless you want to.)
Using Google’s Shopping Express site, users can shop inventory from several big-box stores online and then select a delivery time that works for them. A Google Express delivery person will then bring the order to their doorstep.
The downside? It’s currently only available in parts of California and Manhattan.
3. Google Maps
What did we do before Google Maps?
Answer: Get lost using a paper map, argue with significant others and ultimately end up asking a stranger for directions.
Google Maps went live in February 2005. Months later, satellite views and driving directions were integrated. Two years later, Google added traffic data, easing the pain of commuting for everyone.
4. Project Loon
Google believes balloons may solve the problem of Internet access in areas without the infrastructure to connect.
The company unveiled a plan in June 2013 to bring internet access to two-thirds of the world’s unconnected people.
“We believe it’s possible to create a ring of balloons that fly around the globe on the stratospheric winds and provide Internet access to the Earth below. Balloons present some really hard science problems, but we’re excited about the progress so far,” the Project Loon website says.
5. Google Glass
What if a cyborg could take your photo without you knowing and look up everything about you without ever having to walk away? It’s possible with Glass.
Google’s futuristic eyewear overlays digital information into the real world — and the list of uses seems to increase every week.
Five years after it was released, Google’s Chrome browser boasts 750 million users.
The browser allows users offline access to their Gmail, Calendar and documents, winning fans among a crowd tired of Internet Explorer.
7. Google Street View
It’s captured someone’s now deceased grandma on her porch and an attempted burglar, among a slew of other bizarre images. Google Street View debuted within the Google Maps platform in May 2007, allowing users to explore five major U.S. cities at eye level.
Today, users can explore all seven continents from their computer screens.
8. Project Ara
Google wants to make affordable phones a reality.
Google’s “Project Ara,” an affordable smartphone with swappable and customizable hardware, could shake up the market.
According to Google’s “Project Ara” module developer’s kit, users will be able to build on to a basic structural framework to customize their phone with different modules to design a phone with the look, capability and price that they want.
As new technology comes to market, users won’t have to wait for a new phone and can instead just swap in the modules, empowering users to customize their technology.
Google introduced Android, the first open platform for mobile devices, in 2007.
The company and outside developers have continued to innovate and expand the platform’s capabilities.
In June, Google unveiled Android Wear smart watches at the annual Google developer’s conference in San Francisco. Users can simply sync the watch with their Android phones and wear it on their wrists. Using verbal commands, they can then carry out a variety of tasks, including ordering a pizza, scheduling a car service or sending a text message.
With every interaction, Google said Android Wear better understands the context of what you care about, making every interaction even more seamless.
Google made a bid for your TV in July 2013.
Google’s Chromecast, which is the size of a ketchup packet, simply plugs into an HDTV, connects to the Internet and then allows users to control what’s on the screen with an existing smartphone, tablet or laptop.
This includes content from services including HBO, Netflix, YouTube and more.
The technology allows you to do other things on your phone or tablet — for instance, reading an email — while still streaming the video on the TV. And the best part? It retails for around $35.
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