Google; A Friend And Master
Besides being the planet’s largest and most popular search engine, mapping the globe one citizen at a time, and taking pictures of your house when you’re not looking, Google is revolutionizing telecommunications with Android, their open-source smart phone platform, and becoming a major player in the global political arena (See Google vs. Great Firewall of China, or Google&co. demand digital due process for America).
But those are just the obvious components of Google’s omnipotence. The giant’s reach is far more vast than most realize.
For instance, did you know that Google keeps a statistical record of all search queries around the world? It’s called Google trends, and with it you can see what the world is searching for most, or check the chronological history of a keyword’s popularity. For example, Google can accurately predict the migration of influenza around the globe about two weeks before the American government knows what’s up, just by seeing who is searching for flu related keywords where and when.
But Google is also in your house, tracking your powers. Google PowerMeter is a free energy monitoring tool meant to help consumers lower their carbon footprint by graphing and displaying their energy consumption room-by-room, appliance-by-appliance, in real-time. Granted, you need a smart-meter installed in your home, but isn’t this one step closer to Skynet?
And Google is with you everywhere you go. On your mobile device of choice you can download apps like Sky Map, which allows you to see the night sky rotate around you, so the floor becomes a virtual window to the Southern hemisphere’s sky (okay, from my point of view). Or you can download Goggles, which allows you to search using pictures taken on your device. For example, a picture of a national monument would return information about that monument.
How is Google getting so smart? Will it ever stop? Probably not, but they will give you an inside look into the future with their annual web-development conferences, Google I/O. Going into it’s third year, I/O (Innovation in the Open) is where the masterminds expose their latest widgets, gadgets and gizmos. Last year, everyone who attended got access to the up-and-coming Google Wave project, to help test the software’s performance before being exposed to a larger market. I totally want to go, but 2010 is already sold out.
For now I’ll just have to be content that Gainesville is in the running to be Google’s fiber-optic internet guinea pig. If chosen, we could be one of the first cities in the world to experience Giga-speed performance, about 100 times the speed of conventional-interweb travel. So far, I’ve heard, we’re going quite well in the race.
If this is how the human race falls, bring it on.