Google 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.