Exciting Projects Coming Through Google's Pipeline

Google (GOOG, GOOGL) has been working on a lot of exciting things. A big achievement came in March when its artificial-intelligence program, AlphaGo, defeated the world’s strongest Go player. It’s also working on an in-house incubator program dubbed as “Area 120” to provide an opportunity to its employees to engage in their own projects. The company is making efforts to expand in the world of Cloud Computing, while it continues to experiment with its projects in the field of Bioelectronics and Autonomous Cars.

With all that, here’s an update on some of the more exciting things happening at Google.

Self-Driving Cars

One of the best known self-driving vehicle projects is Google's, which is now seven years old. Driver-less cars use sensors and software to look 360 degrees around them and are capable of identifying objects like other vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and more.

Statistics reveal more than 30,000 people die each year in the U.S. in road accidents and 94% of such accidents involve human error. Self-driving cars have the potential to dramatically reduce these numbers. As per Google’s latest April report, the vehicles in its test fleet have self-driven over 1.5 million miles on public roads.

As a further push to Google's existing self-driving test program, Google has entered into a collaboration with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCAM), under which Google’s self-driving technology will be integrated into the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan.

As per the agreement, “FCA will initially design and engineer around 100 vehicles uniquely built for Google's self-driving technology. Google will integrate the suite of sensors and computers that the vehicles will rely on to navigate roads autonomously.” This is the first time ever that Google will be working with an automaker to directly integrate its self-driving technology into a passenger car.

Online TV Service

Google is reportedly planning its debut into the online TV industry with a YouTube service named “Unplugged.” The paid subscription service by YouTube would offer subscribers a bundle of TV channels over the internet, and should be available by 2017. While Google is said to be in talks with a couple of major cable providing companies, no deals have been sealed as yet.

Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google, recently said, “As we look to the future, we aim to provide more choice to YouTube fans - more ways for them to engage with creators and each other, and more ways for them to get great content. We have started down this journey with specialized apps like YouTube Kids, as well as through our YouTube Red subscription service.”

Project Ara

Google is long rumored to be working on its ambitious “Lego style” modular smartphone under Project Ara. The modular smartphone would allow users to snap and customize components (like sensors, camera, extra memory) on it. Project Ara’s Twitter account describes itself as “Making hardware more like software apps.”

According to GFX Bench, the device is listed as Google Project Ara (A8A01) and is on Android 6.0 OS with a 13.8” touch screen, supporting a display resolution of 1920 X 1080 pixels. There is speculation that some updates on the project may be announced at the Google I/O 2016, its annual developer conference to be held on May 18-20 in California. The device is expected to be released later during 2016.

Electronic Lens

Google is known to be working on smart glasses and contact lens for few years now. However, its latest patented a technology is an “intraocular” device. The patent application filed in October 2014 has an approval date of April 28, 2016. It reads, “An intra-ocular device includes an electronic lens that can be controlled to control the overall optical power of the device. The device can be installed within a flexible polymeric material shaped to conform to the inside surface of a lens capsule of an eye.” The optical power of the electronic lens can be controlled based on the accommodation forces.

Final Word

With Google’s I/O developer conference just round the corner, we can expect updates on Virtual Reality (VR), Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, Android Wear, Project Tango and more as well as announcement of some new exciting ventures. Overall, Google continues to innovate existing systems while working on cutting-edge future technologies, something that would help consolidate its position in the long-term.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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Prableen Bajpai

Prableen Bajpai is the founder of FinFix Research and Analytics which is an all women financial research and wealth management firm. She holds a bachelor (honours) and master’s degree in economics with a major in econometrics and macroeconomics. Prableen is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA, ICFAI) and a CFP®.

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