Google is mostly known for search, advertising, email, and various other every day web use-related products. Everybody knows that Google has all kinds of products and projects, but we’ve put together a list of some of the more out of the box entries into Google’s endeavors.
Perhaps a few of them are more interesting than wacky, which is why I ultimately decided to go with the “interestingly wacky” phrase, but suffice it to say that Google has a lot of time (man hours) and resources on its hands.
1. Robot Spiders
At Google’s after party for its Google I/O conference in 2010, they had robot Mondo Spiders on hand for entertainment:
2. Self-Driving Cars
Google has self-driving cars. One has already been involved in an accident, though it was blamed on driver error.
3. Lawn-Mowing Goats
Google has at least at one time used goats to mow its lawn. The company discussed this in a blog post.
Google has bees, and at least when this was discussed in another blog post by Google, they had 80 people employed tending to them.
5. Cataloging Genes
In 2005, Bioinformatics pointed to a Washington Post piece discussing Dr. Craig Venter’s work with Google as mentioned in the book The Google Story:
“`We need to use the largest computers in the world,’ Venter said. `Larry and Sergey have been excited about our work and about giving us access to their computers and their algorithm guys and scientists to improve the process of analyzing data. It shows the broadness of their thinking. Genetic information is going to be the leading edge of information that is going to change the world. Working with Google, we are trying to generate a gene catalogue to characterize all the genes on the planet and understand their evolutionary development. Geneticists have wanted to do this for generations.’
6. Tracking the Flu
With Google Flu Trends, the company’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, tracks outbreaks of the flu.
7. Transport pods
Last year, Google invested $1 million on “Shweeb” a transportation pod that you pedal around town.
8. Street View Trike
Google not only drives cars around collecting imagery of streets and buildings (as well as other things in some cases), their “Street View Trike” goes into those harder to reach places (like the Amazon jungle)
9. Android in space
Google sends Android devices into Space:
10. Predicting the future
Googles’s investment arm Google Ventures invests in something called Recorded Future, which is a tool designed to prdict the future when you enter the what, the who/where, and the when.