Google hires a lot of really smart people. Those smart people do a lot of really crazy things.
Just today, Google founder Larry Page announced the founding of Footpath Labs, a spin-off from the search giant with a mandate to make cities a better place to live.
It’s not Google’s first big idea with a long-term vision. Not by a longshot…or a moonshot.
Google X is the better-known of the company's two semi-secret labs, focused on making 'moonshots' that set technology ahead ten years (get it?). Google X is run by Astro Teller, pictured here.
Google ATAP, run by ex-DARPA chief Dr. Regina Dugan, is operated like a black ops unit: ATAP's crack researchers have two years to get in, work on their crazy ideas, and get out.
The Google Glass wearable computer promised every user a smarter life, but privacy concerns (and the fact that it makes you look like a doofus) meant that Google retreated on its plans. Still, Google says it hasn't given up on Glass.
Driverless cars are still a long way from taking over the roads, but the Google X lab is making great strides towards making them available to the masses.
Google Loon is an ambitious project to get people in rural and remote areas online with the use of giant helium balloons that relay an Internet connection to the area under them. Loon's been under testing in New Zealand since 2013.
Google X developed this smart contact lens, that can monitor the level of glucose in tears and help diabetics control their blood sugar.
Lift Labs, a company Google bought in late 2014 and put under Google X, makes a tremor-cancelling spoon to help patients with Parkinsons eat.
Makani Power, another Google acquisition put under Google X, makes crazy kites with wind turbines that can generate clean power.
On Wednesday, Google's Larry Page announced the creation of Footpath Labs, a separate company with a mandate to make better cities.
Calico, another Google-owned spinoff company, has the self-appointed mission of fighting ageing and extending the human lifespan.
Google ATAP's Project Tango is an advanced sensor that can help smartphones and tablets track your motion through three-dimensional space -- potentially turning the whole world into a video game.
Project Ara is an ATAP technology to snap together a cell phone from a bunch of different components, so you can slap in a second battery or a fourth speaker if you want.
Google Fi is a wireless phone service that lets you only pay for the data you use, in partnership with T-Mobile and Sprint
Google ATAP's Project Jacquiard is a smart fabric that can control your smartphone, and that's easy for existing textile manufacturers to make. Google and Levi's are partnering up to make smart clothes with the fabric.
Project Vault is a Google ATAP project to make a totally secure computer that actually runs out of your existing computer's SD card slot.
Google ATAP is working on a bunch of projects to build better batteries -- important, since new devices are sucking ever-more power.
Google Spotlight Stories is a Google ATAP project for 360 degree movies on your smartphone. You can watch them right now, including 'Help!,' a live-action short by Fast & Furious director Justin Lin.
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