From driverless cars to robotics, Google has been pushing into new areas for years. But on Monday it made its move official by completely reorganising its business structure.
The tech giant announced in a press release that it had created a new public holding company called Alphabet, which is now the parent company of all of its businesses.
The new Google, which consists of search, ads, maps, apps, Android, Chrome and YouTube, is a subsidiary under Alphabet. Google Ventures and Google Capital will also be managed separately.
Even Google’s top secret lab Google X, which develops futuristic technologies like its driverless car project, will be managed independently.
Here’s a look at the wild businesses and projects that started under Google, but will now be run as their own operation.
The smart home company Nest will also operate as a separate business under Alphabet.
Nest is primarily known for its smart thermostat, which learns a user's behaviour to automatically adjust and save money. Google purchased Nest last year for $US3.2 billion. Nest also makes a smart fire detector and a smart home security camera.
For the past four years, Google X has been working on the future of autonomous vehicles with the help of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
Four US states have already passed laws allowing driverless cars, and as of June 2015 Google-powered driverless vehicles had collectively logged over 1 million miles. Google X has its own prototype design of a driverless car that doesn't have a steering wheel or foot pedals. The futuristic vehicle is on track to be made available to the public by 2020.
Google X's Project Wing wants to replace your friendly neighbourhood mailman with a drone. The project has been working in stealth for the past two years, and it was shown publicly to the world for the first time in August of 2014.
By all indications, Project Wing is still in early stages of development. Google had to scrap its drone design for a new one earlier this year because it was too difficult to control.
The Life Sciences division within Google X is working on the future of medicine. Led by a team of neuroscientists and genetics experts, one of the products being worked on is a smart contact lens with a glucose sensor and a wireless chip that aims to help people living with diabetes by measuring sugar levels in their tears.
Last September, Google bought Lift Labs and incorporated it into Google X. Lift Labs had developed a spoon with sensors that detect and alleviates nearly 70% of tremors associated with Parkinson's disease. Practical applications for the technology could also include image stabilisation in cameras to compensate for shaky hands.
Green energy startup Makani Power was purchased by Google and folded into Google X last May. So far, there's a working prototype of an airborne wind turbine, or 'energy kite,' that Google thinks could be the future of renewable energy. Drone maker Titan Aerospace was bought by Google in April to likely aid in Makani's efforts.
Project Loon is a particularly ambitious effort by Google X to deliver internet access to the two thirds of the word's population that's still disconnected. It's essentially a network of balloons in the stratosphere that link together and form nets of coverage for rural areas where traditional ways of delivery internet access aren't available.
Thirty balloons were launched in 2013 above New Zealand's South Island for the first pilot test of the service. Google is continuing to expand its testing to form a 'ring of uninterrupted connectivity at latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere.'
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