You reach your doorstep only to realize you have forgotten your keys, so you reach for your phone to text your roommate. You don’t need to tap in the passcode because you have a chip in your back pocket that tells your phone, “It’s okay—this is the owner.” Once you step inside, the smart thermostat adjusts itself, making every room warmer. Its display reads, “Let’s get you warm,” since it knows it was 34 degrees today.
Only one piece of that scenario isn’t currently a reality, and that’s the smart thermostat—but it’s not too far off. In fact, Google recently purchased Nest Labs, a company that produces self-learning thermostats and smoke detectors, for $3.2 billion. The aforementioned smartphone is the Moto X, released in 2013, a result of Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility. Incidentally, Motorola was sold to Lenovo this month.
One thing is clear: Google is relentlessly buying tech companies. Since 2006, it has owned YouTube. A few weeks ago, it bought two file-sharing apps, Bump and Flock. These apps have been shut down so Google can work its magic on them. The most baffling of purchases, though, is Boston Dynamics, a company that designs robots for the US military, coupled with the recent acquisition of Titan Aerospace, creators of high-flying robots.
So what is Google up to? With many unannounced projects on its plate, it is sure to reveal a stream of products in the upcoming years. It aims to revolutionize smart devices, both in the household and for personal use. Google may even be a future competitor of Instagram, given the evidence of its interest in social networks.
While it may seem like Google is not involved in aspects of student life outside of its search engine and Android, you may be surprised to find out about its influence at UF. UF’s Google Student Ambassador, Nathalie McCrate, says, “Gators use Google products everyday. Student journalists at the Independent Florida Alligator use Google Docs to collaborate on articles in real time before they hit the press. Our student body president, Christina Bonarrigo, used a Google Plus Hangout on Air to stream her ‘State of Campus’ speech on campus. UF computer science engineers use Android developer tools to build mobile apps available at our fingertips.”. Additionally, the UF graduate psychology student, Benjamin Crosier, utilizes Google Glass for social science research.
What does a company achieve with home devices, media-streaming technologies, social networks, and robots? The answer to that is simple: world domination.