How Google’s Research is Driving Futuristic Innovation
Google may be most famous as a search engine, but its influence spans countless industries that ripple through the entire economy. From Android smartphones to Google Docs to driverless cars, Google’s impact is everywhere.
One reason for Google’s prolific influence is its strong emphasis on research and development. Google’s research spans 21 separate fields, from artificial intelligence, data mining and natural language processing to general science, educational innovation and economics. In conjunction with this theoretical research, Google has aggressively pursued practical applications by registering patents.
That being said, here are a few areas where Google’s research and development is making an impact:
The Android Economic Revolution
One area where Google is having a far-reaching impact is mobile devices. With its Android devices, Google holds a significant share of the mobile market, both in the U.S. and globally. Over the past few years Google has been expanding into the mobile payment market through its Google Wallet and Android Pay lines, as well. These systems enable devices like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge to be used for mobile payments.
In so doing, Google joins other companies moving into the mobile wallet space, such as Apple and Samsung. Between now and 2018, combined purchases from Android Pay and Apple Pay will climb from $540 million to $8 billion, according to Juniper Research. By 2021, more than 85 percent of remote purchases will be made through mobile devices.
Another area where Google’s research is making waves is medicine. Google’s life sciences department has pursued a series of initiatives to apply research to medicine. One of its initial projects was developing a smart contact lens that detects glucose levels in diabetics. Next came special utensils that help control hand tremors in Parkinson’s patients. This was followed up with a cancer detection method that combines wearables with nanotechnology.
Google’s cancer detection technology relies on giving the patient a pill that spreads programmed particles coated with antibodies throughout his or her body. The particles latch onto abnormal cells. The accompanying wearable device then receives information from the nanoparticles to detect the presence of cancer or other diseases.
Google is also moving into the smart home market. Earlier this year, the company announced the upcoming release of Google Home, which uses Wi-Fi to equip any room with voice-activated control of internet searches, music streaming and everyday tasks. In support of Google Home’s launch, the company has been working closely with its Nest smart thermostat subsidiary and is now bringing dozens of engineers over from Nest to work on Google Home. With Nest folding into Google Home, Google is poised to compete with Amazon Echo as it moves into the voice-controlled home automation market.
From Google to Alphabet
To maintain its emphasis on innovation, Google has had to reinvent itself. In 2015, Google became a subsidiary of a new company called Alphabet. The move split Google’s commercial ventures off from its research projects and brought other companies under the Alphabet umbrella in the process. Alphabet’s scope encompasses enterprises such as Nest and longevity company Calico in addition to Google’s more familiar lines such as search engines, online maps, YouTube and Gmail. Google CEO Larry Page explained the reorganization as an effort to keep Google innovative. Judging by the results, the strategy seems to have worked.