Research and development is continually being adopted by companies across the world to improve their approaches towards product innovation. Adoption of research and development is considered a core tool for organizations because it enables such firms to gain competitive advantage because they are able to bring new offerings to the market after understating the needs of their clients and customers. Google is a technology company that has its roots internationally mainly operating services based on internet such as online advertising and software development. The revenues for the company mainly emanate from AdWords. Through its mission, Google aims to have an organization of information in the world and transform it into usefulness as well as increase the accessibility of such information.
In terms of data, the company is estimated to about a million servers and processing slightly more than a billion requests that occupy 24 petabytes of data generated by users on a daily basis (Google Inc. 2016. It is also important to note that Google has been listed as the most visited website world wide followed by its other websites such as blogger and YouTube. In general, google offers services that specifically are targeted for productivity and work in organizations in its normal operations for example google docs, email and cloud storage. It also offers instant messaging and video as well as navigation and mapping. Other operative services include note taking with google keep, sharing of videos as well as operating a web search and browser. It is a leading developer of the android operating system as well as the Chrome operating system other than partnering with other companies, research and development to push its contributions in communication hardware.
For google, research and development department may not be directly involved in its parent services mentioned above but rather aimed at improving lifestyles and operating mainly as a corporate social responsibility platform for example focusing on environmental matters (Google Inc. 2016). At google, the premise if research is based upon the belief that connecting research and developing often helps teams to have powerful production infrastructure as well as an increased level of user base which promote valuable commercial capabilities and innovative research. The aim of R&D has generally been to replace traditional technologies in transfer processes now that teams work on specific technologies from the research to the stage of the final product. Essentially, research is made on real problems, systems and users. This paper highlights the technologies adopted by Google company in Research and Development sector other than operational services. In this study, focus has been limited to self driving automobiles, renewable energy, GPRS tracking systems, medicine technologies and space elevation technologies by Google in R&D.
This technology as operated by Google under research and development involves the production of machines that can drive themselves without necessarily being controlled by a human figure (a driver). The technology has been widely adopted in car technology (Saylor 2014). For Google, this means that cars are not just a transportation means but rather an engineering problem that needs solving based on piles of data and money. The driverless car technology being advanced by google works in the sense that street level data and directions technology should be able to drive cars to take people where they wish to go. According to the New York times, Google has a plan to introduce location based ads to its passengers in the whiz of driverless cars. However, driving without touching the wheels has introduced new dilemmas in terms of ethics, science fiction and humans. It has been argued that if humans can be driven by machines, this makes them like become machines and machines become humans with a sense of thinking.
However, this technology is undoubtfully the future being taken up by the automobile industry. Indeed, Google has already identified first autonomous systems able to accelerate, brake and control steering wheels with high level of accuracy that would reduce the frequency and impact of accidents presumably that humans are more careless drivers than machines. These systems already operate but with a driver keeping an eye on the road with minimal operations. From Google’s research works, it has been argued that in the next decade, in partnership with BMW, a self-driving automobile will be released that does not require a driver at all such that the occupant of the driver’s seat can work, text and relax as the car moves on. Google partners such as GM, Nissan, Toyota, Ford, Audi and Volvo have already released some sort of cars that drive themselves and declared that before the end of 10 years, they will be selling automobiles that self drive on highways and park themselves. For google, the contribution is in terms of research and investment in driving software. Results have already been experienced for a number of years on Silicon Valley.
Proponents of driverless cars opine that the technology will reduce congestion of traffic on the roads, save time and increase safety hiding behind the fact that humans lack clarity in judging calls hence crashing into other vehicles, tress or traffic lights. This has been attributed to health conditions of humans such as blind spots, heart attacks, seizures and leg cramps which cannot affect machines. There have also been findings to prove that many accidents are caused by negligence of drivers rather than mechanical failure. As a result, driving oriented software can make more timely and precise decisions than humans justifying the technology. The software has capabilities of accurately estimating time waiting signals at traffic as well as accurately detecting road stops hence salvaging the problem of traffic congestion. People can thus focus on other things such as making work based calls, surfing or even sleep as they are driven.
The setbacks of this technology are on software security and general ethics. For instance, there are still no answers on what drivers and hackers could do to interfere with the driving software to kill more people than saving them. Questions also arise in terms of responsibility in cases of emergency for example that self driving vehicle discovering that it should either kill children suddenly crossing a highway or diverting off road to kill its passengers. In such case, human judgements would be more ethical.
The GPS Tracking technology
Just like self driving automobiles software development technology, Google also is actively involved in GPS tracking systems other than the parent search technologies. This technology provides information that helps business owners to increase productivity and peace of mind in general. It also provides a good tool for law enforcement as the users can interact with their devises any time they wished to made possible through the online satellite street imaging by Google technologies. Even though this technology has been offered by google for two decades, it has become easy to use and cost effective only recently. This technology has been advanced courtesy of improvements in internet connectivity especially through cellular data technologies as well as he advancements in microprocessor technologies. The google tracking technology has bee advanced from the utilization of other R&D inventions such as Google maps and Google Earth which are not necessarily connected to Google search parent service offerings. The two innovations have added a visual graphic display of devises being tracked. Google satellite uses the API interface (Application programming interface) to integrate real time tracking as well as historical tracking data to the imaging information. As a result, there is an accurate representation of property especially cars about their location using a photorealistic 3-dimension imaging satellite.
Another aspect of tracking is the possibility to view details of your devises in real time on the street using google earth. Users can even zoom in and even change the angle of viewing their vehicles in transit. Users simply need to drag the street view on a road of their choice to see what is happening there in real time if street imaging is available for such a road. This allows to monitor how a vehicle stops and stop locations that would be rather difficult on standard street maps. Using the google street view, vehicles are installed with rooftop camera that digitally capture mapped public roads very accurately hence no possibility of mistaking identity. The setback for this technology is generally privacy because anyone accessible to the digital images can track private movements. However, google has made private arrangements with willing customers to disguise and hide individuals and number plates for privacy concerns before the data is published.
Renewable energy Technology
Google is an important player in the renewable energy sector using the Google green technologies in their R&D department. The intent is to power the entire world with carbon free energy that is 100% renewable. The company has committed purchased of 2.5 gigawatts of Renewable power which would be compared to taking out a million cars from the roads. The company has also invested more than $2.5 billion towards projects in renewable energy (Google Green., 2016). The investments in total are able to power more than one million homes in the US and to that end, the Google becomes one of the largest investors in the renewable energy sector as a corporate. According to McGrath (2011), Google has had the aim to have a carbon neutral world through all its operations in response to more than 1.5 million tons of carbon emissions of 2010 caused mainly by fossil fuels that provided energy for data centres. In climate change, Google continues to be a number one player in the mitigation moves. For instance, in 2013, the company donated $50000 calling for reduction of human generated carbon emissions through the competitive enterprise institute which is an instrumental libertarian think tank mandated to controlling the impacts of global warming. The same year, google also hosted an event that fundraising for Jim Inhofe, the senator of Oklahoma in efforts to increase renewable energy uptake. The company also cut its connections with the American Legislative council because of the opposition of this council towards renewable energy and climate change mitigation efforts.
However, renewable energy technologies by google are not just adopted for the sake of it but rather taken up after careful evaluation in terms of their business sense and potential they have for long term good effects that transform the industry. For example, the company installed a 1.7 MW solar power generation panel at the mountain view campus and was considered one of the largest corporate green energy projects in the world. The panel has been upgraded to 1.9 MW and serves more than 30% of the load of buildings in the vicinity. Currently, Google is working on more than 30 renewable energy technology projects in the world some of which include the Peace Garden wind farms project, Shepherd’s flat, Alta wind energy centre, solar city, Jasper Power Project, Panhandle 2 Wind Farm, the Balko Wind Farm and the Lake Turkana Wind Power which is an Africa’s one of the largest wind project in Kenya (Google green 2016).
Google is not only interested in internet search and related technologies but also highly aggressive in offering medical solutions as well. The slogan of Google has been modified to “do-good” which is a perfect fit for the company’s approach to medical technologies. According to Chen (2014), Google company has been partnering with other firms to have a breakthrough in medical technology. For instance, the company worked with Novartis to have a smart contact lens measuring glucose licensed. Google also invested in calico (a company producing therapies for anti aging) and 23andme (a company specializing in genetic tests). The company is also investing in new drugs production through adimab which uses yeast cells to hasten the process of discovering antibodies. Besides, iPierian, a google subsidiary is using the cellular reprogramming technology to visualize the feasibility of creating new drugs that can attack diseases through modification. However, a major breakthrough has been technology on cancer.
Google has invented and invested widely in technologies in the fight of cancer. In this light, google has been a frequent investor in the foundation medicine whose focus is on combining genomic and molecular data with the aim of creating new approaches to the care of cancer believing that they would be part of the solution on the problem of curing cancer. The company is arguable working on a wearable device that can diagnose and detect cancers and heat attacks by employing the nanoparticles technologies. Google is working with Dr Conrad Andrew of the Google X research to spearhead the project which bangs on the idea that a patient can swallow a magnetic nanoparticles pill to detect these and other conditions. The nanoparticles will attach themselves to cancer cells after which they will change color when a dissolved potassium is passed over them. This would detect the amount of the cancer cells in the blood. The results are believed to attach quickly to the wearable devise.
Issues identified with the cancer technology specifically have been argued to be misdiagnosis or false diagnosis hence unnecessary treatment or increased anxiety among patients. From the report of Google, should this technology be feasible, the results will be observed in the public domain in five years.
One of the most sophisticated google technologies is the robot technology which is believed to be speared in the Google X project at Silicon Valley but secretly conducted. Using the robotic technologies, google aims to increase its presence in the space and automate homes too. Google is for instance setting up infrastructure that can elevate to the space without any need for rocket or fuel propelling as it happens in aero planes. Space elevators are part of the Google X agenda projects in which a ribbon will run from the surface to the space (orbit) to facilitate experiments and space accessibility. The operators tend to suggest that this technology may be a reality in less than ten years. Other than space elevators, Kleinman, (2016) believes that Google is building bots that will perform mundane tasks at home and at work say photocopying, ordering milk from a refrigerator or preparing coffee hence humans will be able to flexibly work remotely and just focus on the highest-level duties.
In conclusion, google is an example of a company that has extended its wigs into technologies that are concerned about the well being of human beings. This is exemplified in its technologies in renewable energy and self driven automobiles as well as its contribution in the medical world. It is therefore important to note that companies using their prowess in profitability can become most relevant in the modern society by making sure that their approach to research and development enhances the lives of people at large.
Bailey, R. (2014). The moral case for self-driving cars.
Chen, J. (2014). Google’s Expansion into Medical Technology. Medgadget.
Google Green. Google, Inc. 2016. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
Google Inc. (2016). About Google.
Kleinman, J. (2016). Google’s latest robot is kind of adorable. Techno Buffalo. Buffalo LLC.
Saylor, M. (2012). The Mobile Wave: How Mobile Intelligence Will Change Everything. Perseus Books/Vanguard Press.