Nowadays, Google is not just a search engine. It is competing with a number of other well-known companies in various projects that for the most part will make everyday life simpler and more luxurious. For a company that claims to have over
30,000 employees, they definitely have the necessary resources to be researching and developing new technologies.
One of the first special features that Google developed was Gmail. At the time, it was not as popular as other e-mail websites. Now, you can sign in and view it when you’re using Google’s search engine. I first had an MSN Hotmail account before I decided to get a Gmail account. To this day, I still use both.
If you already have a Gmail account, it makes it a little simpler to create a Google+ account. This can be considered the Facebook of Google. I cannot personally comment on the design or quality of Google+ because I have refused to make an account. There are so many social media sites out there and I thought it would be best to limit myself, especially since I do not know anyone who has a Google+ account. I believe that its competition with Facebook is too hard to win. Very recently, Facebook has announced that they have around 1.11 billion users, while Google+ has 343 million users. (http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/resource-how-many-people-use-the-top-social-media/)
Switching from a Blackberry Pearl to the Samsung Galaxy SII LTE was the best decision I have ever made about cell phones. The Android operating system, which is owned by Google, allows me to do so much more than my Blackberry ever did. I found that this operating system is even more appealing than the iOS on iPhones. Siri appeals a lot to the iPhone users. For Android, there’s Google Now. It’s based on the same concept, but they each have slight differences. There may be competition in the app stores of the two systems, but each can hold their ground.
Google Maps is an online interactive map of the world. This may seem like a common idea, but all of the features that Google has added make it very useful for multiple reasons. First, there’s the option to search for any address or business that you want to go to. There’s also Street View, which allows you to see what the road and its surrounding look like in an area you want to explore. You don’t even have to leave your house! Then there’s the route planner. This allows you to find your way from any destination to another. You can view it by roads, walking paths, bike paths, and public transit. I really enjoy the public transit maps when I am going to another city for the weekend. It shows me all the ViaRail, Go bus/train, and greyhound times so I can find what’s best for me. I have yet to come across another map that does this much and works as well. I can even use these maps on my phone for if I’m lost or just want to find a restaurant to eat at.
Also available online is Google Translate. I found this useful when I was working my way through French Immersion in high school and taking a Spanish class in university. Google Calendar is another helpful tool that I have used throughout university. It allows me to organize all of the assignments and readings that I need to complete, as well as alerting me of upcoming due dates. The best part is that it automatically syncs with my phone though my Gmail account, so I don’t need to be by my computer to receive an alert! In 2006, Google decided to buy YouTube for $1.6 billion. (http://googlepress.blogspot.ca/2006/10/google-to-acquire-youtube-for-165_09.html ) I manage to use YouTube for homework related topics or for when I’m taking a study break (or procrastinating). The fact that Apple has taken YouTube and Google Maps off of their list of compulsory apps and replacing them with versions of their own suggests that they want to compete with each other.
Google’s latest innovations consist of the Smartwatch1, Google Glass2, and autonomous cars. The rumor that Google is making a smartwatch is being spread around, and most find it likely to be true. These smartwatches would be connected with your smartphone to perform various tasks. Companies such as Apple and Samsung are also reported to have these in production. Google Glass is an interactive pair of glasses that is said to be in production. The idea is that you can tell your glasses to take a picture, ask it to say something in another language, take a picture, and much more. It’s like you’re wearing Google Now on your head. If the product is as spectacular as they make it look in the video, I definitely want a pair. The autonomous (self-driving) cars are still in testing, but are proven to work and reduce the risk of accident in certain driving conditions. Along with the autonomous cars, there’s Google Racing3. I’ll let you look at that on your own. It baffles me.
Sometimes I think that Google is just playing a trick on us, that these things can’t possibly exist! They play an April fool’s joke4 every year, how do we know this isn’t just one waiting to happen? I’m just kidding. But in all seriousness, Google has come a long way for a company that started in a garage. I will continue to consumer their products as they become available and value them higher than their competition.