Project Loon is a very interesting project by Google with just one aim: Internet for All. Because contrary to what we think, two-thirds of people in the world are living without the internet facilities we take for granted.
Project Loon works by sending internet signals from balloons which float way above the air in the stratosphere. The stratosphere has different layers in which wind flows with different speeds and in different directions. Taking advantage of this, the balloon can float in what way and which speed it wants. This makes it the fastest and quickest methods to transport high-speed internet around the world.
Project Loon is going to work entirely based on renewable energy sources. It will use wind as its main fuel for transport. And to power all the electronics on the balloon to produce LTE signals, it will use power of the sun, captured by solar panels attached below its interior. This makes it one of the cheapest and eco-friendly ways to produce cellular signals for the internet. And the internet services will be from carriers who partner with Google on this platform.
If this project takes off, millions of people will benefit from the cheap and fast internet it will potentially provide. Aside from people getting free education and job opportunities, we will connect with millions, if not billions of truly offline minds in the world.
Another internet project by Google, but for developed markets as of now. Project Fi is a unique way to connect to the internet on the go.
No matter where we are and no matter what carrier we use, almost all of us face bad connectivity problems occasionally. To tackle this, Google’s project Fi will switch phones, tablets and other cellular devices to the network they deem gives the best quality signal at that time and place. For example: If a 3G signal from X carrier is slower than Y carrier in a given place, Google will automatically connect your phone with the Y carrier’s network. And if a Z carrier is giving a 4G LTE signal in the same place as X and Y are giving 3G, obviously Google will prefer to connect your phone to Z carrier’s network. And all this will happen seamlessly, without you even knowing your network has changed.
In addition, if there is Wi-Fi available in a particular place, Google will verify it from its record of a million Wi-Fi network, and if it is deemed reliable, your phone will be connected to that Wi-Fi in a securely encrypted connection.
There is one pricing model which includes:
The best part of this plan is that unused data get refunded back in dollars. For example, you got a Fi Basics plan ($20) with a 3GB data add-on ($30). But you used 2.5 GB of data from the plan costing you $50. Instead of charging you the whole amount, Google will refund the unused 0.5 GB of data with $5!
The project is amazing, especially when you consider there are no roaming charges, no taxes, refunds and free hotspot facilities. It slowly moving mainstream but currently supports Nexus devices from Nexus 6 and above.
The Nano-particle Platform is a completely unrelated project by Google in terms of business, but good for humanity as a whole. Its aim is to create pills which detect serious diseases like cancer and heart attacks, well before they can form and much earlier than we can detect them today.
The pills will have magnetic particles, a size of a billionth of a meter, attached to some kind of protein and entered into the user’s bloodstream. The particle will then separate and attach itself to molecules in the body and perform diagnostics.
A wearable device will call the magnetic pills back to a location within the bloodstream, collect data and send it to the user, preferably over the internet. Users can then send the diagnostics back to their doctors to learn about the symptoms. The technology is still in early stages and unclear how much developed.
Google will face many challenges with this new futuristic medicine. For one, the pill is meant for healthy people, because its purpose is to detect these diseases will before symptoms start to show. For this reason, it will be highly regulated and monitored. But once it goes to market, it may as well usher a new era for cancer treatment.
Google is advancing quickly on something that both scary and wonderful at the same time. Google has created a very functioning Artificial Intelligence assistant in its UK based Deep Mind lab. The assist is not only capable of making decisions and performing tasks accordingly, but it’s also capable of learning.
The AI can do a task and when it does it correctly, it stores the process, much like a human being. Currently, Google is making it learn about cats by making it go through cat videos on YouTube. In addition, Google is teaching, or rather the AI is teaching itself to play games. And this part of the AI is called Alpha Go.
Go is a Chinese game dating back 2500 years ago. The objective is simple, surround your stones with the opponents to win. But the game is much more intuitive and complex, requiring great decision-making skills and creativity. The AlphaGo AI competed with world champion Lee Sedol and won 4-1.
This shows that the era in which computers will truly be more skillful than humans is coming. It could also be potentially dangerous as stated by Elon Musk:
“… just keep an eye on what’s going on with artificial intelligence. I think there is potentially a dangerous outcome there.”
To tackle this problem, Google has created an ethics board and is working with scientists to create a ‘big red button’ to stop it from learning harmful and destructive patterns and actions.
This is an exciting project by Google that’s almost finished and about to become mainstream. It’s called Project Ara.
Ara is a modular smartphone, meaning you have the ability add and remove components just like in a PC. The phone will have a basic exoskeleton housing the processor, antennas and some other necessary components. But the rest will be fitted in the form of modules.
The modules will be created by one of the partners of Google’s Ara. For example, you could fit in a better camera, a high-quality speaker, or more storage. But these are the conventional parts, instead, what Google and its partners will offer are fitness trackers, better flashlights, double batteries, heart rate sensors and fashion blocks made of wood, concrete, glass etc. that are just for style.
The first consumer version phone will ship sometime in 2017. Google has a list of notable partners on board including Samsung and Sony to make the modules. But the phone will be the first ever to be manufactured by Google itself.
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