Can anyone remember the time, long ago, when Google was not synonymous with performing a search on the internet? How about when Google Glass promised to revolutionize the way we live but then just…didn’t? Today we’re giving credit where credit is due – here are five Google inventions that have changed our world:
Before Google Search, Yahoo! was the search engine of choice for many. These were the early days of the internet, when developers were having stabs in the dark to build what has come to be a digital Disneyworld of features and choices. There was also Ask Jeeves, a search engine so forward-thinking (warning: sarcasm incoming) that you could perform your search as a question (e.g. What time is it in Bangkok right now?) and it would give you search results to answer your question! Revolutionary! When Google came onto the scene, it just did things differently – not reinventing the wheel right away, but only bit by bit. Before long, “to Google” was regular verb usage in daily conversation. Of course, Google had only just begun.
Sure, prior to Google Maps we all knew there were a bunch of satellites orbiting Earth. But was I the only one who didn’t realize they were taking pictures of my house?! Google Maps let that cat out of the bag. It started as a downloadable program designed by two Danish brothers, Lars and Jens Eilstrup Rasmussen, but was soon acquired and changed by Google to a web-based offering. Soon thereafter, Google Maps overtook MapQuest as the market leader as an online road directions service. Now it can do so much more, including give real-time traffic status and show locations of amenities in the area.
Don’t you just hate it when a new product hits the market, but it’s prohibitively expensive so you have to wait a few years to try it out? Google hates that, too. That’s why they came up with Google Cardboard, their answer to virtual reality headsets. Instead of shelling out big bucks for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, users can build the VR headset for free from cardboard, using a smartphone screen for the visuals. Sometimes the simplest answers are the most brilliant.
Okay, so Google Glass wasn’t exactly a hit. But there is another sight-related invention in the works: Google Lens. Its first iteration worked like a contact lens, designed to help diabetics monitor their glucose by measuring blood sugar levels in tear liquid. The lens was to be equipped with a wireless chip and a glucose sensor that are embedded between two layers of contact lens material. All information that was to be gathered would be sent to a wireless device via an embedded antenna thinner than a human hair. Recently, however, things have gotten more bionic than ever with a patent application by Google: the next version of Google Lens would surgically remove the wearer’s natural lens and replace it with the Google Contact Lens, which would be fused to the eye with a congealing liquid.
If nothing else, the constant roll-out of new Google inventions will keep us watching and waiting to see where they will take us. Until Google Time Travel is released, we will have to just keep our eyes glued to the tech news page!
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