Smart contacts

Before we start, a caveat: Yeah, Google is now owned by an umbrella company called Alphabet. And it's Alphabet that owns many of these crazy-cool technologies. But the people who own Alphabet are, essentially, Google's top brass. You'll forgive us the minor liberty.

Why have contacts that just help you see? According to Google, the company is developing a smart contact lens that's "built to measure glucose levels in tears using a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor that are embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material."

Photo by: Google

A body odor smelling device

This year Google registered a device with the U.S. Patent Office that detects body odors and seeks to eliminate them. Yep. Really.

Photo by: US Patent and Trademark Office

A robot army

Google has acquired Boston Dynamics, a company devoted to "changing your idea of what robots can do." Among their robots includes one called Petman, which is developed to move like a human and test chemical conditions.

Photo by: Boston Dynamics

The Terminator robot

Another robot they're developing, called Atlas, is basically the Terminator.

Photo by: Boston Dynamics

The robot zoo

And let's not forget their robotic menagerie, which includes Cheetah, "the fastest legged robot in the world," RiSE, which climbs buildings like a bug, and BigDog, an advanced rough-terrain robot.

Photo by: Boston Dynamics

The key to immortality

What's Calico Labs working on? Oh, they're just researching how to defeat aging forever.

Photo by: Steven Vidler/Eurasia Press/Corbis

Culture, because, why stop at art?

The Google Cultural Institute gathers international collections and exhibits from museums as well as archives worldwide (including, yep, works of Salvador Dali), and brings them to anyone with an Internet connection. Price tag: your soul (just kidding, it's free).

Photo by: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis

Star Trek nanites (aka tiny robots in your blood to cure disease)

Essentially, these are tiny magnetic robots that go into your blood. These nano-particles would bind themselves to molecules and identify potential illnesses.

Photo by: Paramount/CBS

Synthetic skin

As if blood robots weren't freaky enough, Google is also developing synthetic skin. You know. So their nanoparticles can talk to you. Maybe it'll look like this. Maybe it'll look even freakier.

Photo by: Rick Friedman/Corbis

A YouTube cat detector

In their quest to develop artificial intelligence, Google has developed machine technology that, among other things, can detect a YouTube cat video.

Photo by: Photo illustration by Lisa Bernier

Your genome

Technically they don't own your DNA. Yet. But through Google Genomics, Google is looking to build a cloud-based library of genomic data. How Gattaca of them.

Photo by: Columbia Pictures

The heart-hand gesture

Didn't know this could be patented? Well it can, and Google did it. Why? So you can use the gesture to "like" things via technology like Google Glass.

Photo by: John Smith/Corbis

A digital throat tattoo with a microphone

A digital microphone that would be tattooed into the user's throat is another invention Google potentially wants to develop. The patent (which Google acquired via a Motorola Mobility subsidiary) describes a wireless device that is able to transmit the sound of a user's voice to devices like smartphones.

Photo by: Atlantide Phototravel/Corbis

A lunar base (or at least a moon robot)

Google is looking to land on the moon by funding the Google Lunar XPRIZE, which has contestants racing to land a robot on our friendly lunar satellite.

Photo by: Google

Energy kites

Through the company Makani Energy, Google X is looking to develop clean, green energy by the use of wind machines that generate power through kites.

Photo by: Makani

Internet-carrying balloons

Project Loon is Google's attempt to bring Internet everywhere. Balloons would carry signals to parts of the world that still don't have Internet access.

Photo by: Project Loon/Google


Google owns Zagat, the famous travel guide to, well, everything, including top restaurants like this one. Why? We're guessing it's an attempt to bring Google Maps to the next level.

Photo by: Howard Lipin/ZUMA Press/Corbis

A phone that sees like a human

Another initiative, called Project Tango, is Google's stab at combining 3D motion with mapping. The goal of the project is to have software on your phone that's the digital replica of a human eye.

Photo by: Google

An ad generator that reads the enivironment

This isn't your typical Times Square billboard. Patented by Google in 2008, this sensor, once placed in a smartphone, could read temperature, light, humidity, sound and the chemical composition of the air around it. Ads would then change based on those readings.

Photo by: Jose Fuste Raga/Corbis

A spoon for people with Parkinson's tremors

Google owns Lift Labs, which developed Liftware, a spoon that helps people with tremors eat by using stabilizing technology.

Photo by: Liftware/Google


Does Google own the third dimension? Of course not. Does it own a database where you can download a plethora of 3D designs to print? Yep. There's so many, they even call it a warehouse.

Photo by: © Monty Rakusen/Corbis

Hand-sensing motion technology

Google acquired startup Flutter so they could own Flutter's hand-gesture-interfacing, motion-technology work.

Photo by: JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images/Corbis

Artistic masterpieces

Through Project Art, Google allows you to virtually tour thousands of masterpieces from various museums and collections.

Photo by: Francis G. Mayer/Corbis

Self-driving cars

Yet another competitor in the self-driving car race, Google has already made prototypes and tested vehicles that, well, drive themselves.

Photo by: Google

The alphabet

Ok, they may not own the letters A-Z. But they do own the name "Alphabet," as it's the moniker of Google's new parent company.

Photo by: Blue Lantern Studio/Corbis

Earth observation satellites

Skybox imaging was obtained by Google in 2014. The company provides commercial, high resolution satellite imagery of Earth. So now Google is literally watching you from space.

Photo by: Skybox Imaging


Google Fonts is a cloud-based network of thousands of fonts that you can download for free, so even your typing has the Google touch.

Photo by: Google

A walking stick that captures images

If you use a walking stick, you obviously want it to take pictures of the glorious vista you just hiked to see, so Google, of course, owns a patent for an invention that would do just that.

Photo by: US Patent and Trademark Office

A virtual assistant just for your social media

In 2011, Google bought a patent for technology that would allow your computer or smartphone to wittily post all those social media status updates for you -- basically, your virtual social Jeeves.

Photo by: Photo illustration by Lisa Bernier

Artificial intelligence

Not satisfied with having a robot army of destruction, Google also wants those robots to be smart. Hence their research into machine and artificial intelligence which, among other things, has been able to learn how to play all those classic 80s video games.

Photo by: Google


If you didn't understand why your Gmail is connected to the video-sharing behemoth, well, here's the answer: Google acquired YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion.

Photo by: Google

Self-creating comics

Yet another patent owned by Google is a social network that allows users to share and create their own comics.

Photo by: US Patent and Trademark Office

The smart home

Acquired by Google in 2014, Nest, formerly Dropcam, let's you spy on yourself. Or others. It's also expanding its products to create a smart home.

Photo by: Nest


Want to see the future of car technology?

Brian Cooley found it for you at CES 2017 in Las Vegas and the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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