More Than Search: 5 Things Google Has Done For The World

google office   More Than Search: 5 Things Google Has Done For The WorldGoogle has come a long way since starting up as a rinky-dink search engine that played second fiddle to what Yahoo! had to offer. If you’re the average person, you’re probably using Google in some way every single day. It may sound dramatic, but Google is a huge part of our lives. It’s good to know that the company isn’t necessarily evil, either.

Microsoft has quite a philanthropist to represent them; it being Bill Gates. Gates is one of the most charitable and kind-hearted people in the world. As a company, Google has never really been represented by a single person in the way that Microsoft and Apple has. We see Google as its entity, and Google—as a whole—has done some pretty amazing things in the world thus far. Let’s get into a few of those.

Fighting Against Child Exploitation

The most recent wonderful thing that Google has done for this planet lies within a blog post that was published on the 15th of this month.

googleblog   More Than Search: 5 Things Google Has Done For The World

In this post, Google announces its commitment to fight against child pornography on the internet using a cross-industry database and millions of dollars in funding.

Have you ever heard of Tineye? Tineye is a search engine that basically allows you to point to an image and see if that image exists elsewhere on the internet. The way Google strives to fight against child pornography online is quite similar. Google has announced that they are working to build this database of encrypted image fingerprints that will allow companies and law enforcement agencies to help do their part when disgusting criminal activity like this is reported.

Google doesn’t have to do this. This is being done to help make the internet a better place.

Delivering Internet Around the World

I can imagine that the first thing to come to a skeptic’s mind when hearing about this is, “Google just wants to open more doors and get their data collection out there to reach more people! They should be dropping food!” I can’t stop anyone with that outlook from approaching the situation that way, but the fact is that Google is making a strong push toward allowing the internet to be more accessible.

I’m not a naive person. With all of the NSA drama popping up recently, I understand that people are going to look at this with a lifted brow. However, consider how the people in New Zealand, and in other more remote locations, feel about being able to access the internet at 3G speeds thanks to balloons that Google has sent up into the air.

As a project itself, Project Loon is really interesting. These balloons are being sent through the stratosphere and use wind data to remotely control themselves. There’s a pretty similar project that you’ll find further down the list, but you’ve got to admit that Google is doing a pretty remarkable job to even come up with an idea like this.

Project Loon is estimated to be able to provide internet access to 4.7 billion people. That’s nothing to shrug your shoulders at.

Tracking Flu Trends

The few sentences beneath the header say it all:

We’ve found that certain search terms are good indicators of flu activity. Google Flu Trends uses aggregated Google search data to estimate flu activity.

googleflu   More Than Search: 5 Things Google Has Done For The World

It’s a one-page website that offers a map to show flu activity based on how hot particular search terms are in the corresponding areas. The lighter green represents minimal activity while the deeper red represents intense activity.

This data can be downloaded in TXT format, animated and sent to Google Earth, or compared using Public Data Explorer, all in the footer links of the website.

Mowing with Goats

This one’s a bit more on the playful side, but it’s actually a great example of Google going green.

In a blog post from 2009, Google announced that they’d be renting goats from California Grazing. These goats would be brought to their Mountain View headquarters and let free on the lawn.

No gasoline. No air pollution from mowers. Just goats.

The Driverless Car

We’ll round out the list with one we’ve probably all heard of, and that’s Google’s awesome self-driving cars.

We all know the current purpose of these, and that’s capturing images for Google Earth and Street View. However, think of how this could affect you and I. In the future, we could be pressing buttons on a touchscreen interface and sitting in a reclined seat in our self-driven cars, poking away at our smartphones as we are practically chauffeured to our destination.

Google’s self-driving cars have a long way to go. There have been accidents involving Google’s self-driven cars, and it’s going to take time. However, the technology is here and it’s being constantly improved. This is the future of transportation.

It’s cool to look at how many different things Google has their hands in around the world. Google is not just a search engine. It’s not just an email provider. Google is a powerhouse company that is making a world impact. Google isn’t going to go away and you and I aren’t going to be able to comfortably avoid it, so why not appreciate some of the good they’re trying to do in the world? Give credit where it’s due! If you want to see for yourself, how the company is trying to live up to its “Don’t be evil” slogan, drop into Google.org and explore all their philanthropic projects around the world.

Know any other great things that Google has done for us? Drop me a line in the comments section below and let’s talk about it.

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11 Comments -

1 votes

Jobs

1. Make NSA job easier.

0 votes

Dave

They also cut down work for the poor civil servants at HMRC who process tax returns.

1 votes

dragonmouth

Google has collected and is collecting the second largest personal information database in the world. Only some of the more anally retentive governments have bigger databases. While it is not the Evil Empire that Microsoft is, Google is definitely not user/subscriber friendly. As far as Google’s good deeds, let’s not forget that Pablo Escobar of Columbia spent many of his ill-gotten millions on improving the lot of the poor in his country.

1 votes

Zhong J

Google have become what in our eyes, a philanthropist and generally held in regard in difference comparison toward Microsoft, as they are not geared solely on gaining profit on the wide margin of the corporate market. But they are attempting to spread the influence toward all fields of consumer’s needs, whether be it phones, tablets or e-readers.

0 votes

michel

First Craig Snyder shills for Amazon, while ignoring how abusive a corporation it is, now this.

Google is the single largest content pirate on the internet. The courts are still dealing with the massive, greedy and illegal appropriation of material that is Google Books. I don’t need to go on about the surveillance. Just because someone throws you a few crumbs does not mean they are working in your interests.

This article reminds me of all those people who still praise Mussolini because “he made the trains run on time.”

Articles like these are ruining this blog. Are they paid for directly by these corporations, or is Craig Snyder satisfied with affiliate status?

0 votes

Craig Snyder

Here is where I “shill for Amazon,” if any readers are curious towards that comment: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/are-you-taking-advantage-of-all-the-money-saving-deals-on-amazon/

It’s a post where I offer Amazon shoppers several shortcuts for finding ways to save money if they use the website.

I think you’re reading between the lines a little too much. Take this article for what it is: a list of interesting things that Google has done to positively impact the environment, a group of people, or anything else of that general nature. This isn’t an NSA post, and truthfully I don’t think there’s a place in the comments of this post for that sort of discussion. We have other posts on this blog for that, and I’ll bet that the authors behind them would love your insight and opinions.

I’m not the only fan of Google here at MakeUseOf, but you should also know that anything I post represents my own thought process and opinions, and not that of all of our authors. I won’t even address the Mussolini metaphor because it’s a little silly to me.

MakeUseOf doesn’t accept paid post requests. You may be giving me a little too much credit if the idea is that Google is shoveling cash my way for writing an article about them using goats to mow their lawn. Please make an effort to see my posts for what they are. I’m not big on politics or conspiracy theories.

0 votes

Rajagopalan

Google’s philanthropic face is fascinating, interesting and very useful. It is not just a commercial organization.
Thanks you MakeUseOf for this post.

0 votes

Maraz

It probably required much more fuel and emissions to bring the goat to the office than it would to just mow the grass.

0 votes

Peter

The comment re New Zealand is a little perplexing. Are you implying they wouldnt have internet (broadband or 3g mobile towers) without the intervention of google?

0 votes

Sandeep Veernala

Great article Craig. Yes, Google made things easier and here is one more application for which I respect Google.
It’s called Google person finder.

http://google.org/personfinder/2013-uttrakhand-floods

1 votes

alikhan2100

How could we forget google glasses.