We all know Google as the Internet company hellbent on indexing the web, but sixteen years in the data business has made way for other equally impressive Internet tools. These projects serve as a testament to how technology, data, and the Internet create unique opportunities to explore, preserve, and solve problems of the world.
Google’s Music Timeline is a graphical representation of music genres and their popularity over time. This timeline – powered by user data from Google Play music – may also be the most comprehensive and interactive music history timeline ever created. There is also a search function (of course) to narrow down your browsing. Data is shown by decade from 1950 to 2010. I only wish it provisioned year-by-year data from 1990 to now, but other than that, it’s a very interesting graph.
If you’re a history fanatic like me, you probably think of the Internet as one big encyclopedia and desire to see existing relics of all your odd interests. I hope we both get to see them in person, but until then, Google Cultural Insitute will have to suffice. Google Cultural Institute allows site visitors to explore art, historic moments, and world wonders in a virtual reality fashion. Watch the video below to see how the site works.
Google says Fusion Tables data visualization web application will help you “bust your data out of its silo!” A lot of the features evoke a sigh of “Finally!” for data analyst and includes capabilities such as table merging, instant visualization, selective subset publishing, and attributed collaboration. Fusion Tables’ most prominent features are location table enabled intensity mapping and public data integration with user data.
- Collaboration functions are used by Toronto Globe and Mail to track traffic jams
- Intensity mapping and public information was used to inform the public during the 2011 Japanese Tsunami and Hurricane Irene in the U.S
- The app was even used to conceptualize the fictional landscape of the Skyrim video game!
It’s an experimental tool which means Google can yank it away without much forewarning, but don’t let that stop you from playing with this robust and free data visualization app!
“Do not be surprised if we place smaller bets in areas that seem very speculative or even strange when compared to our current businesses,” they said.
This one surely surprised me. Google announced a venture into smart contact lenses on January 16th, 2014. The company is developing smart contact lenses in hopes of monitoring blood glucose levels of people with diabetes. The lens will contain “chips and sensors so small they look like bits of glitter, and an antenna thinner than a human hair.” Monitoring blood glucose levels through tear production will eliminate the diabetic’s need to prick their finger at intervals to manually check their blood glucose levels. This technology will also make way for continuous monitoring of an easily agitated body function.
These tools show how Google is using its data to educate, inform, and solve complex problems. Did you already know about these tools? What are some of their other surprising products?