Google Out of the Box

You undoubtedly know Google from its search engine, so ubiquitous that the company lent its name to a verb form: “just Google it.” In all likelihood, you’ve used Google Maps and YouTube.

Google is developing multiple innovative projects.

Google and its parent, Alphabet, are developing multiple, far-ranging and intriguing projects. They may be less visible than the company’s flagships, but they constitute the technology news of the future. Take a look.

Projects to Increase Health and Green Energy

Alphabet’s Debug Project takes aim at mosquitos. Mosquitos don’t just bite; they spread diseases, like malaria and the Zika virus, that can be deadly. Alphabet’s potential solution? Developing mosquitos that can’t bite. They also can’t breed. So ultimately, the Debut Project spells the death of the mosquito.

Google X’s Makani Project is developing flying wind turbines that resemble kites. They aren’t the first to develop wind turbines, of course, but these are being designed to produce more power at elevated altitudes.

Think about how kites go crazily dancing once they attain a certain altitude. That’s because the force of the wind is stronger the higher one goes. Harnessing the power of the wind like that is the Makani project’s goal.

Projects to Widen the Reach of Technology

Several of Google’s out-of-box projects are designed to widen the reach of what technology can do. Project Wing is developing drones that may one day be used for airborne delivery.

Another development, Sidewalk Labs, aims to connect cities via wi-fi hubs. It will also be crucial is laying the groundwork for the self-driving car once they are ready to go and approved.

Both Project Wind and Sidewalk Labs widen the use of technology in a macro sense. But there are also several projects afoot that harness existing technology and place it in new products.

One key product is wearables, combined with gesture technology. Say you’re mountain climbing and can’t pull out your phone, or don’t have it with you. No problem, because the material your clothes are woven with can have the ability to sense your gestures. You can swipe and tap your clothes just as you now do your phone.

The prototype for gesture-sensing wearables is Google’s Project Jacquard. It’s about to move from prototype to you-can-purchase-this-now status, as Project Jacquard has teamed with Levi’s to produce a gesture-sensing jean jacket that retails for $300-plus.

The jacket, dubbed The Commuter, can place pins in maps, queue a piece of music, and more.

Projects to Make Technology Simpler

Not that Google has left the phone behind. No. Mobile phones are an integral part of Google’s business strategy.

And that has brought us Google’s Project Ara. This project makes it possible to upgrade certain features of your phone without purchasing a brand new device. It is essentially making the smartphone modular. Want a smartphone camera with better definition? Just upgrade that module into your existing smartphone. Want more battery life? Ditto. Powerful speakers? Yes.

Stay tuned as Google rolls out its out-of-the-box projects that have the potential to make people healthier, and more energy-efficient.