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Have you heard of Google X? It’s a secret laboratory located within the vicinity of Google’s headquarters where a special team of scientists and entrepreneurs aim to make world-shattering advancements to technology — the kind of progress that’s so advanced that you may confuse it with science fiction.

That’s the hope, anyway. The reality is that while Google’s employees are some of the most brilliant in the field, they’re still human. We won’t be seeing interstellar spaceships and time travel machines any time soon, but that doesn’t mean that their discoveries aren’t impressive. They definitely are.

Here are a few Google projects that are going to change the way you live within the next few years.

On-Demand Package Delivery

Drones are on the forefront of today’s cutting edge technology. They’re so versatile and effective that they’re going to transform several worldwide industries 7 Industries Drones Are Set to Revolutionize 7 Industries Drones Are Set to Revolutionize Seven industries that are ready and braced to be (mostly positively) impacted – if not revolutionized – by drones. Read More . One of the more practical uses for a drone, at least on an individual level, is the ability to make on-demand package deliveries 5 Amazing Uses For Drones In The Future 5 Amazing Uses For Drones In The Future Unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly called drones, are now infamous for their surveillance capabilities, but like most tools, the usefulness of a drone depends on who's in control. Read More .

Instead of waiting on cargo planes and cross-country trucks, what if a single drone could bring an item from a local warehouse and drop it off right at your doorstep? You may have heard that Amazon is pursuing this kind of delivery system with their Prime Air project Amazon Delivery Drones, Facebook Hack, Kindle Fire Vs iPad Air [Tech News Digest] Amazon Delivery Drones, Facebook Hack, Kindle Fire Vs iPad Air [Tech News Digest] Amazon aerial drones, Facebook friends list hack, Google Nexus handsets vulnerability discovered, Black Friday numbers are released, Steam introduces user reviews, and the Kindle Fire HDX is compared favorably to the iPad Air. Read More , but did you know that Google is also looking into it?

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It’s called Project Wing and it looks awesome. Before you assume that Google is copying Amazon, do note that Project Wing was conceived and began development at least one year prior to the debut of Prime Air. If anything, this shows that drone-based deliveries may actually become a reality soon.

Full-scale testing of the project is currently happening in Australia. It works like this. The drones remain airborne the entire time, never coming down due to the possibility of compromised civilian safety. Instead, packages are lowered using a tether that releases the package once it touches ground. Once released, the tether retracts and the drone returns home.

The goal is to be able to make city-wide deliveries within 1 or 2 minutes. Read more about it in the exclusive Project Wing reveal by The Atlantic.

Modular Smartphone Hardware

One of the great things about PCs is that hardware components are interchangeable How To Build Your Own PC: The Easy Guide How To Build Your Own PC: The Easy Guide With the complete amateur in mind who has no technical knowledge whatsoever, we are going to show you how to build your own PC! Read More . If a hard drive, RAM stick, or graphics card malfunctions or underperforms, you can always replace it with something else. Unfortunately this isn’t true for smartphones, but that may soon change thanks to Google.

Enter Project Ara, an initiative that aims to produce modular smartphones Project Ara Arrives, Apple Hates Snow Leopard, Nintendo Kills Multiplayer [Tech News Digest] Project Ara Arrives, Apple Hates Snow Leopard, Nintendo Kills Multiplayer [Tech News Digest] Project Ara is happening, Apple ends support for Snow Leopard, Nintendo ends support for online multiplayer on Wii and DS, Sony to close most stores, Facebook retires email service, and retro games invading Adam Sandler. Read More that are both affordable and accessible to everyday folks.

The modular design is what you might expect. The phone itself is just a structural frame, also known as an endoskeleton, comprised of multiple modules that can be plugged in and out at will. When upgrades are released, you won’t need to get a whole new phone — just swap out the outdated module and you’ll be good to go.

According to Time, the first market-ready Project Ara device will debut in the first quarter of 2015. The cheapest model, called a “grayphone,” will be a barebones device with an estimated price tag of $50.

The Self-Driving Car

If you haven’t heard of Google’s driverless car How Self-Driving Cars Will Change Transportation Forever How Self-Driving Cars Will Change Transportation Forever As we move into 2015, the question is no longer whether self-driving cars will replace manually driven cars, but how quickly they'll take over. Read More yet, you’re in for a treat. This fascinating bit of technology, once it’s ready, will be an overall improvement for society as a whole but will also provide notable benefits for you on a personal level, with the most important point being that humans do not make safe drivers.

We’re prone to errors, lapses in judgment, emotional instability, substance impairment, and a slew of other obstacles that could hinder proper driving procedure. On the other hand, self-driving cars don’t fall asleep, can’t be distracted, obey traffic laws, and have near-instant reaction times.

Autonomous cars are also good for the environment Autonomous Cars: Are Robots Good for the Environment? Autonomous Cars: Are Robots Good for the Environment? The way we use cars is going to change.  Those changes will be wide-ranging, but one area that hasn't been investigated in as much detail: the impact on the environment. Read More . Imagine a near future when self-driving cars have become the majority of vehicles on the road. Imagine if all of those cars were networked together such that they could communicate How Cars Will One Day Talk to Each Other How Cars Will One Day Talk to Each Other Tomorrow's transportation is not just about the self-driving car. The future will see networks of cars working together to keep passengers safe and deliver them to their destinations efficiently. Read More , ultimately forming “flocks” where every car is in perfect tune with every other car. In other words, optimal navigation.

No more wasted gas due to driving in circles when you’re lost. No more traffic jams due to rubbernecking or stop-and-go driving patterns. As the rate of accidents decreases, cars can be manufactured with lighter materials that are more fuel efficient and cheaper to produce. Combine that with advancements in electric engines and you’ve got a recipe for success.

We’re still at least a few years away from this scenario being feasible, but the possibility is within sight. All we have to do is get over the technological and legal problems Here's How We'll Get to a World Filled With Driverless Cars Here's How We'll Get to a World Filled With Driverless Cars Driving is a tedious, dangerous, and demanding task. Could it one day be automated by Google's driverless car technology? Read More that currently stand in the way.

Revolution In Healthcare

Google isn’t afraid to reach its tendrils out into fields that don’t really have a direct connection to gadgets, advertisements, or the Internet. Last year they announced the establishment of a new company named Calico that’s dedicated to biotech research and development.

Calico has big dreams. When the company was first announced, it generated a lot of hype around their lofty intent to cure death itself. Calico has been somewhat more grounded since that first announcement; for now, they’re mainly focused on partnering with Big Pharma to produce new drugs for cancer Google's New Nanotech Pill Will Help The Fight Against Cancer Google's New Nanotech Pill Will Help The Fight Against Cancer Google is reportedly working on a pill that could potentially identify cancer, heart attacks and other illnesses, without resorting to painful and invasive surgery. Is this the future of medical science? Read More , Alzheimer’s, and more.

Google is influencing healthcare in another way as well. Do you remember Google Glass Google Glass Review and Giveaway Google Glass Review and Giveaway We were lucky enough to get a pair of Google Glass to review, and we're giving it away! Read More ? It may not have caught on very well amongst consumers, but there’s at least one profession where Google Glass is showing a lot of promise: doctors.

google-innovations-healthcare

SAP SE, a German software corporation, has developed an app that can connect Google Glass to a hospital’s information system, allowing doctors to pull up a patient’s medical history on demand. Observations made while wearing the Glasses can also be stored back in the system.

The main benefits come from the fact that Google Glass is hands-free, portable, and voice-activated — qualities that are important for busy doctors.

And then there’s the Google Contact Lens, which is a lens with a built-in sensor that can measure glucose in the wearer’s tears. The purpose of the project is to provide diabetics with a non-invasive way to maintain blood sugar levels.

Are You Ready For Google?

Some people don’t like how pervasive Google has become, even going as far as refusing to use Google at all How To Quit Using Google How To Quit Using Google So what can you do when Google encompasses a ton of products and services all around the world and you want to escape their control? When complaints and protests don’t work, the best way to... Read More . For them, the above advancements are just further proof that Google is way too big and way too powerful. But as for me, I’m eager to see how various limits will continue to be pushed by this tech company.

How do you feel about these Google projects? Are you excited or do you wish Google would stop putting their hands in every cookie jar? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

Image Credits: Google On Tablet Via Shutterstock

  1. Dennis
    January 7, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    I love Google. They are going to be the equivalent of Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and Nikola Tesla combined and more in this day and time!

  2. Dominic
    January 6, 2015 at 8:59 am

    I'm losing faith in Google just because they jumped onto that whole immortality thing. Rich people: you still have to die.

    • Joel Lee
      January 8, 2015 at 2:38 am

      While it's unlikely that anyone will ever really find immortality, the secondary discoveries that surface along the way will surely prove useful to science in one way or another. :)

  3. Prateek Mittal
    January 5, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Looking forward to get the Modular mobile set :-)

  4. Prasa
    January 4, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Google has been good at drawing a line from the start to the end and then perfecting the path. Driverless cars, Project Ara and Project Wing are all filled with a whole lot of challenges and practical difficulties to become reality. But, everywhere there are challenges and they drive us today. We shall overhaul these trials and I am looking forward to seeing a driverless car in my neighborhood soon!!

    • Joel Lee
      January 8, 2015 at 2:37 am

      I like your enthusiastic and optimism! I really hope Google pulls through with those project ideas. It will be such an exciting time if they come to fruition.

  5. Not Peter
    January 4, 2015 at 1:24 am

    I think the fifth project missed here should have been Project Loon. It has the chance to change a country's GDP if implemented.

    • Joel Lee
      January 8, 2015 at 2:34 am

      I almost included Fiber + Loon as another section but ended up cutting it due to length. For those who don't know, Project Loon is Google's attempt to provide Internet to remote areas using ballons to suspend an aerial network in the sky. Cool stuff and worth reading up on.

  6. N/a
    January 3, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    Google = Atlas O.o

  7. Peter
    January 3, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    If privacy is no concern to you go ahead. But Google become wat too big and is involved in so many things, only to gain your data. Google needs to be stopped while we still have the change.

  8. Antonie
    January 3, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    I am a Google Fan and look forward to whatever they bring to the Table. People afraid of Google, IMO, should be cautious to have friends that may also learn too much about them. That for me is a fact of life, the more people can learn about you (Google in this case) the more they can 'compliment' you as a person

    • Joel Lee
      January 3, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      That brings up an interesting tangent. Nothing in life is ever private as long as you interface with other people. Trying to maintain 100% privacy on an inherently public system (the Internet) is a futile endeavor.

  9. Coregenie Technologies
    January 3, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Wow! The post interesting for Us and really inspirational for web designer from India like us. We are a web design India company. We definitely use this next time. Meanwhile do you have a blog entry for upcoming trend in web design in 2015?

    Thank You
    Coregenie Technologies

  10. Phoghat
    January 3, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Google is your friend, your spying, ad-pushing, stab-you-in-the back friend

    • Joel Lee
      January 3, 2015 at 5:15 pm

      Would you rather Google charge for its services? If so, I'm curious: how much would you be willing to pay? Providing an important service and expecting it to be 100% FREE with no strings attached is simply not how the world works.

  11. Saikat
    January 3, 2015 at 6:38 am

    For an advertising company to stay relevant well into the future is a remarkable thing. How many companies can lay claim to that fact. Many have had billion dollar bank balances, but they stayed confined to their own niches, or just didn't have that future vision. Even its direct competitors -- Apple and Microsoft, innovate within their existing hardware and software businesses.

    Google is betting big on the future. And I think it's going to win big.

    • Joel Lee
      January 3, 2015 at 5:13 pm

      That's one of the reasons why I respect Google. They have a massive track record of failed projects, but they keep trying. Even if a project sounds too big or too impossible, they give it a go anyway. I wish I had that kind of innovative attitude in my own life! It's the attitude of winners.

  12. Foster
    January 3, 2015 at 5:23 am

    Even though Project Wing and Prime Air Project looks very interesting it can become very dangerous since packages can be dropped anonymously and could be used for the wrong purposes by the wrong people.

    • Joel Lee
      January 3, 2015 at 5:12 pm

      True, there are dangers. I think one of the obstacles for both Project Wing and Prime Air is FAA regulations that prohibit that kind of commercial drone usage. We may see things change in the coming years but I imagine there will be plenty of restrictions to keep things as safe as possible.

  13. Rob
    January 3, 2015 at 5:02 am

    I'm always amused when I see people worrying about the information that Google has, when the credit cards they have used for decades have far more information about them than Google has, and it is tied directly to them thanks to social security numbers.

    Personally, I welcome Google and everything they have to offer. I'll happily "pay" for Google's free services with a little data that they can use to give me ads, which I will never see thanks to adblocker.

    • Joel Lee
      January 3, 2015 at 5:11 pm

      Agreed. We straight up give out phone numbers, addresses, credit cards, and social security numbers to various companies but freak out at Google for much less.

      If I could shop for FREE at my local supermarket in exchange for letting them track my shopping habits, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

  14. John Pyper
    January 2, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    It's not like crApple and Monkeysoft aren't doing similar things. No matter where you turn, your data, no matter how minute, is being siphoned from you at a remarkable pace.

    Let's think about cloud breaches, email hacks, storage compromises. The only safe way to keep your data safe is not to share it at all. But...if you don't share some of your data, it means that you have to jump through extra hoops to accomplish certain tasks.

    So, would you rather share a little bit of info to make your life a bit easier, or would you rather continue wearing your tinfoil hat and being paranoid about everything?

    Personally, I like new toys. If I have to give up some of my info to get a new shiny, I analyze the requirements before submitting my info and make sure I understand what is required from me to have the new shiny. It's the EULAs that nobody reads when installing software. It's the NDAs that people don't follow when they are admitted into a secret group.

    • Joel Lee
      January 3, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      Exactly, John. Free services are rarely free due to altruism. Whether Google or not, a free service is likely collecting all sorts of information. Google doesn't deserve so much flak in that regard, although I can see how it's easy to just blame everything on the most well-known company in the world.

  15. Scott
    January 2, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Sounds like the mark of the beast to me. :-)

    • Joel Lee
      January 3, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      Interesting thought. Care to elaborate? Is there a particular service or product that makes you think of Google in that way? Or is it just their general MO of collecting data?

  16. Lisa Kerr
    January 2, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    I love Google; they have so many great features to use!

    • Joel Lee
      January 3, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      Google ain't perfect but I can really get behind their innovative attitude. :)

  17. Anonymous
    January 2, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    I'd love to fully use Google but I'm scared that they'll use my data. I'd love to adopt Google drive and have all my files in there but who wants Google to snoop in to satisfy their "Business Model"

    • Joel Lee
      January 3, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      It's a tricky line to walk, for sure. For sensitive data like personal identification or business projects, I wouldn't even think about using an external cloud platform. For other things, I think it's fine. I don't really know why Google would care to know about my shopping lists, wedding plans, PDF collections, etc. :P

  18. worlda
    January 2, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    No, thank you. Moving away from Google is the best thing to do!

    • Joel Lee
      January 3, 2015 at 4:59 pm

      Why do you say that? I can understand not wanting to use certain services that collect info, but why wouldn't you use something like a self-driving car or drone-delivered packages? Seems silly to shun all of Google when you could just pick which parts not to partake in. :)

  19. ReadandShare
    January 2, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Looking forward to owning a driverless car. Would be nice to snooze while the car drives... :)

    • Joel Lee
      January 3, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      Especially on long commutes! Waking up at 5am may not be so bad if you can sleep for another hour while the car drives itself.

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