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Last updated: October 13, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Driverless cars, Wind Energy, Inflation Price Index – Google is more than being online…

Google’s search engine, Google online news, Gmail, Google docs, Chrome operating system – What’s common among all this? All our applications which can be used on the Internet; basically speaking on the computer. So you can’t be blamed for thinking that Google is all computers.

This post is an eye – opener for those people as well as me who don’t know the other face of Google. A face which is not totally hidden from the world but one due to which they are regarded as one of the most innovative companies on this earth.

Driverless Cars

Larry Page and Sergey Brin found Google on the premise of using technology for solving common issues of today. Accidents, pollution, poor efficiency are some of the magnanimous problems plaguing our roads today.

Therefore to overcome this, Google has developed automated cars with trained operators. These automated cars include video sensors, cameras, detailed maps, range finders to see other traffic etc. With the help of Google’s data information, all the information obtained by the car can be processed. Over time these cars have been tested for more than 140,000 miles till date.

Every car has a trained driver who can take control of the car when one disengages the control. There is also a trained software operator in the car in the passenger seat. The test processes goes like this –

  • A driver goes in a conventional car so as to understand the road and other conditions
  • By understanding features like road signs, lane markers, traffic, the software becomes familiar with the environment and characteristics

Reducing energy consumption, encouraging and transforming the concept of car pooling as well as reducing the time on roads are some of the aims of this futuristic project.

I am sure the day is not far when we see them on roads in some countries at least. What say?

Wind Energy


Google has recently invested in the development of a wind transmission project on the mid –Atlantic. The project aims to provide access to clean energy as well as create thousands of jobs. Therefore it is able to solve both the business as well as the environmental problems.

When built completely the project would be able to produce 6000 MW of electricity while stretching for 350 miles.

This initiative from Google is another move by them to using renewable energy sources for their activities.

CSR anyone?

Google Price Index (GPI)

Yes you heard it right! Google’s chief economist Hal Varian has come up with the idea of setting up the GPI – something to replace the official data. Using the vast available data of prices on the Google Shopping platform, Hal Varian has realised that Google has a potential minefield of information out there.

It is still not clear the prices GPI will include the prices on Google Shopping or also those on other sites like Amazon etc. GPI would give a very good picture of products bought online as well as offer a rapid picture of the inflation trends compared to the current inflation data.

Varian has already talked about some interesting insights it gives: –

  • Deflationary trend for web – traded goods in the USA
  • High correlation for goods that are sold on the web compared to the ones sold offline

Whenever the GPI rolls out, it is sure to take the world by storm, whether positively or negatively is a question!

Do you still think Google is all about being online ?

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