Google AdvancesElizabeth TaylorAmerican Public University SystemGoogle Advances Technological advances have become aconstant part of the twenty-first century, black and white TVs are a thing ofthe very, very distant past. Majority oftoday’s generation has never even heard of a floppy disk. Change is part ofevolution and like all things, technology advances every day. There is onecompany that has continued to make life a little bit easier.
That company, is Google! Google’s parent company Alphabet has been atop leading developer alongside of Amazon. There are many products that the normal individual who isn’t considereda “tech” person would not know about! But it is no surprise that technology has advanced to a fully automatedhome, Google Nest; or a self-driving automobile; a drone delivery service, ProjectWing; balloon internet service, Project Loon, and also being one of the onlycompanies that is highly concerned with renewable energy. Self-DrivingAutomobile More than 90 percent of accidentseach year are caused by human error (Bailey, 2014). In 2009 Google’s researchand development teams began working towards the first self-driving automobile. Accordingthe Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, nearly 75 percent ofcars will be self-driving by 2040 (Bailey, 2014). The idea behind a self-driving car was theincreased safety when human error is taken out of the equation. The original fleet for Google’s self-drivingcar project consisted of Toyota Prius and their goal was to drive over tenuninterrupted 100-mile routes (Waymo, N.
D.) By 2012 the company had already driven morethan 300,000 miles, added a Lexus RX450h to their fleet, and moved from lesscountry roads and more city streets. By2015 Google created their own vehicle called “Firefly” and the world firstfully self-driving car was on the street! As time evolved, so did Google’s carproject. In 2017 they added a ChryslerPacifica Hybrid minivan was part of their project. The biggest debate and challengethis self-driving car would face would be the liability factor when trying toimplement a fully self-driving automobile. While the technology takes out the portion of human error thatcontributes to majority of accidents out of the equation, you are now adding aliability issue if anything were to happen during a drive. As part of the liability issue, the updatedsoftware or technology to ensure the car is functional is a huge deal.
There have been multiple opinions on how toaccurately address the liability issue. In 2014, RAND Corporation made arecommendation that accidents occurring by fault of the self-driving featurewould extend as some sort of no-fault liability, wherein the injured personwould filed a claim from their own insurance. Legislation on the other hand requires a single person is responsible ofthe vehicle, therefore the individual owner would be liable should anyaccidents occur. To overcome thischallenge, when purchasing the car an additional insurance policy could beincluded, similar to the 35,000 mile warranty that most dealerships have on newvehicle purchases. Overall, the self-driving automobile could have a hugeimpact on society.
The amount of deathscaused by accidents each year could 99 percent of the time be prevented. The downside to this would be the maintenancethat would come with such car. If a caris fully autonomous it would be vulnerable and susceptible to viruses orhackers, which could affect the ability to perform as created to. Another thing to consider would be the costto continue maintaining the software, if someone were to skip a suggestedupdate or upgrade, would the driving feature be able to be utilized or wouldthere be a safeguarding mechanism to lock that feature until updated? At thestart of Bailey’s article, he mentioned that Americans spend $230 billionannual to cover the costs of accidents. By having such a vehicle that couldaccurately predict all outcomes and choose the route that is best, would inturn help the economy.
Americans would be able to spend less on the insurancepolicies that increase due to accidents. When Bailey states “People a generation hencewill marvel at the carnage we inflicted as we hurtled down highways relying onjust our own reflexes to keep us safe” (Baily, 2014, para. 19) I believe he isreferring to the fact that autonomous vehicles along with so much more will bethe norm of the future. As technologydevelops and advances, cars that you have to drive yourself will be a thing ofthe past, like horse and buggy.
Too manyaccidents today are caused by texting and driving or a distracted driver. When they are filed with insurance, thosedistractions are not listed because an average person knows that if they statein the police report or insurance claim the wreck was caused due to negligenceand lack of attention, the claim wouldn’t be paid and there would be a fineassociated with it. I do believe that autonomous cars are a great idea, I donot think they will be implemented fully by 2040. The cost of such technology and the cost ofmaintenance is not something all of America can afford and I do not believe wewill be at a point where all of the human driving cars are unable to bepurchased. ProjectLoon Have you ever been in an area whereyour reception is awful and you can’t make calls or send messages? What aboutinternet, have you moved to a location where internet services weren’t offeredwith certain company and you are forced to either have the subpar internetservice or none at all? Approximately 44 percent of people living in ruralareas do not have access to or cannot afford internet (Molla, 2017).
There is now a way that those areas wouldhave access to affordable and decent connectivity and that way is calledProject Loon. A 2017 study concluded that “23 percent of Americans in urbanareas do not have access to or cannot afford broadband versus 28 percent inrural areas” (Molla, 2017). In othercountries that number sky rockets! In anevolving and technological dependent society, the lack of internet becomes alarger issue. This issue now impactseducation and development of future generations. Project Loon is a research and developmentidea that will enable the areas without the internet service or with limitedexpensive internet service, to have a more affordable option. Research began in 2012 to develop internet toareas that were without, by balloon. Thechallenges that Google has already faced when implementing this technology wasthe lawsuit that occurred in 2014 after the CEO did a TED talk that divulgedthey used a patent that did not belong to them. There is another company out there that has been providing commercialwireless service from balloon since 2004, that company is Space Data.
In 2007 Google took part in an auction ofradio spectrum as part of a plan that would enable frequencies to open up toall users. During this process, SpaceData saw a chance for them to squeeze into the investment and have Google fundpart of their service by creating nationwide network towers. In turn, the company had to release all oftheir company’s information and secrets to Google. After touring the facility, visiting theNetwork Operations Control Center, seeing confidential wind data, and examiningthe inner working of the stratospheric transmitters, Google abruptly endedacquisitions with Space Data (Harris, 2017). While Space Data has been using the weather balloons to provide data, butGoogle has surpassed their basic concept. Google has implemented balloons that lastweeks longer than the competitors and their balloons are 100 percent solarpowered. Part of the litigation requiredthat Google had to release technical data to see where exactly Loon wasinfringing on their patents. This couldpose an issue if they win their lawsuit, the competitor would have an advantageof knowing Google’s next move.
The trial is set to take place in 2019 and if amotion is granted in favor of the plaintiff, it would prevent Google from usingany of the supposed patent infringements until the case is decided. This hurdle has potential to cause a hugeissue for Google. Another potential challenge is the cost for theservices. If a portion of the populaceis without internet due to the cost, there has to be a selling point to makethis technology cost efficient as opposed to the commercial internet providers. If Google is in fact innocent on the patents,they should continue their research and development of Loon. While the two companies share similarities,Google has truly taken the next step and can offer so much more to theworld. By implementing a more affordable andaccessible internet service everyone will have access to the evolvingtime! Internet and technology has beenembedded into the education system throughout the world. To create something that would allow othercountries to have the same educational advancements directly impacts the worldeconomy.
A child should not be hinderedor receive less of an education because their school cannot afford to implementtechnology into their daily learning. Outside of school, there are so many programs online that help studentswith their grades, increase their reading levels, and assist in tutoring. Google’s Loon project is so much more thanjust internet, it will be beneficial to a multitude of individuals and worldprogression. This project isenvironmentally safe and utilizes 100 percent solar power to power theballoons.
To ensure it remainsenvironmentally friendly, Google is able to guide the balloons to certain droppoint to ensure that the balloon does not litter the land and is forgottenabout. Their advances also allow them torecycle and reuse the balloon that are coming out of the stratosphere.GoogleNest Google Nest has turned home security into afully automated system.
The homeautomation adapts to the user, utilizes sensors, and has completely Wi-Fienabled products. Nest Labs originallycreated a smart thermostat in 2011, smoke and carbon monoxide detector in 2013,and they were later bought by Google in 2014. The Nest technology stood stagnant on more technologies until 2016 whenthey released the home security system.
Thesecurity system has evolved home security into a fully automated home. Potential challenges that Google could facein implementing this technology are equipment recalls and hackers into thesystem, both of which they have faced previously and overcame. Google nest have already faced these issues,in 2016 an article was released after a customer’s “Smart” thermostat sufferedfrom a mysterious software bug, draining the battery life and leaving theirhome to drop to freezing temperatures overnight (Bilton, 2016). With anything technology related you alwayshave to be cautious of the vulnerabilities of being connected to the internet. To prevent these issues, it relies heavily onthe owner to ensure that software updates are being done regularly and that amalware protection is installed (Paul, 2017). These vulnerabilities could be very dangerous,allowing hackers to take over a home security system could allow someone tobreak into a home and police never even be called. Away that Google could assist in preventingthese issues is having an automatic system update as part of the technologyinterface, similar to the apple software updates. When it is time for an update it will notifythe user via email.
During the recentChristmas season 2017, there were a lot of issues with packages that were beingleft on porches being stolen. Unfortunately the home system does not automatically send policenotifications, however, Google has created an additional facial recognitionfeature that could potentially allow the owner to see the person and react asthey are approaching and call the police. The homes that had the cameras on thefront door were able to at least get a good picture of the individuals thatwere stealing packages. This system is agreat advancement and allows homeowners to have peace of mind if they are nothome or on vacation. Environmentallythese products could potentially have a negative impact if they are notdisposed of properly.
With Google Nestit has links and sites to go to ensuring proper recycling for oldproducts. On this site you enter yourzip code and it comes up with local recycling areas to take your old productsto. Overall Google is a very environmentalcognoscente company, all of their research and development address theenvironmental issues during the research phase to ensure that they are doingwhat is best for the consumer and community. In Bilton’s article, he mentions that there isan arbitration clause within the Nest user agreement, if a glitch in the systemdid occur and resulted in pipes freezing and busting the company would not beresponsible for the reimbursement.
ProjectWing Project Wing is a product of Alphabettechnology’s step towards creating delivery drones. The thought behind this is to one day be ableto deliver food, packages, and emergency medicine quicker and to more remotelocations that would otherwise be required to wait longer for mail. Delivering products via air leaves room forpotential issues. Laws and regulationscan be huge show stoppers for drone advances and learning how to play by therules of the air (Adams, 2017). A fewobstacles Google for face would be competitors like Amazon and getting pastcongress on approvals for the unmanned systems or air agreements.
Currenttesting and developments have enabled Alphabet to successful test the dronemanagement platform, which would help drones to navigate through crowded airspace (Condon, 2017). “Project Wing has focused on developing three coreelements of the platform: real-time route planning for drones in the same area,sending notifications to operators of any unexpected changes to the aircraft ofroute and sending notifications regarding no-fly zones and safety-sensitiveareas” (Condon, 2017). This is a huge obstacle that they are well ontheir way to overcoming.
There has beenmuch debate on whether the drone would be more environmentally friendly asopposed to a delivery truck, and the answer is, it depends. “Researchers foundthat drones tend to have carbon dioxide emissions advantages over trucks whenthe drones don’t have to fly very far to their destinations or when a deliveryroute has few recipients” (Langston, 2017). The study concluded that with smaller packages drone take the lead,however, trucks are the smarter and more reliable resource for largerdeliveries. With a drone it would not be able to delivermultiple packages in one trip and would require constant back and forth, makingit require more trips and less efficient than the normal delivery method. In 2016, there were 42,000 commercial dronesand by 2021 it is estimated the fleets could range from 442,000 to 1.62 million(Condon, 2017).
A negative impact on theenvironment would be the impact on the economy and results in loss of deliveryservice jobs like USPS, FedEx, and UPS. InMay of 2016, an article was released that showed drones could replace “$127billion worth of human labor and service” (Weller,2016). That would negatively impact the economy andlead to less jobs throughout the United States work force. To minimize the loss of jobs, congress couldput a cap on the amount of drones allowed in the sky at one time.
I would be concerned on the impact if a dronewere to malfunction in the air and the ultimate landing place, which could bedangerous for the environment and community. For ethical purposes I think this would allow tracking and be safer forthe roads. Thinking back to theself-driving automobile, some truck drivers do not annotate the correct amountof miles they are driving.
With dronesthere are less chances of human error or lack of sleep due to incorrect drivinglogs. RenewableEnergy and Sustainable SolutionsThe amount of Google queries exceeds 40,000every second or over 3.5 billion searches a day! That requires a lot of energy to ensure Googleis continuously working, using as much electricity as San Diego! (Irfan, 2017). Google technologies have truly paved theway and are winning the race in renewable energy. In 2016, Google stated thatby 2017 they would be 100% generated by renewable energy and they met that goal(Donnelly, 2017). “The tech giant was able to hit this target of matching 100percent of its energy use after closing new deals to buy wind and solar powergenerated in South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Iowa, adding to several purchases it has madesince 2012″(Irfan, 2017).
Renewableenergy has proven to be cheaper than new fossil fuel and better for theenvironment. Of all of Google’s advancements, this is the most important onethat has such a huge impact on the environment. While renewable energy may be costly to start it ends up paying foritself over time and helps prevent global warming on an ever larger level.
By investing in renewable energy, Google isassisting with adding private sector jobs to the community, the more renewableenergy plants the more jobs for the American population. Negative impacts thatthis could have on the environment would be the locations in which they buildthe power plants. When companies are creating Solar panels they require a largeamount of land cleared, which may interfere with land uses. It’s putting actual electricity onto the gridwhere it operates, after which it retires the certificate so that no one elsecan re-use it. This removes a quantity of renewable electricity from the market,forcing utilities to make more renewable power to generate more RECs ratherthan trading existing certificates. It also creates an incentive to build newwind and solar plants” (Irfan, 2017). When thinking of obstacles, I think that Google has set the standard andthere are not many obstacles that they will face.
The company is so large and has deep pocketsfrom investors, they cost associated with all of the technological advances donot seem to impact the company. Managerscould be impacted by this in multiple ways, more employees due to the increaseof plants and a larger workload for current employees. Renewable energy and sustainable solutionscan be costly and should be handled carefully. Studies show that although it isa better method than burning fossil fuels, each of the methods have their ownnegative impacts. Which of the lesserevils would you choose?Conclusion Creating a better, more efficient,and safe world for the next generation should be on everyone’s to do list. Google is ensuring that we are paving the wayfor future generations and the next stage of technology.
“Every once in awhile, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into aninnovation” Dean Kamen. Takinginnovation to the next level is something that everyone can be part of, theworld is evolving, you don’t want to get left behind!