Google has a vast array of different types of technologies under development. One of the more interesting projects is Google Blimp. In rural communities, such as in the ones in many parts of Africa, there is often a lack of physical communication infrastructure. Because of this lack of infrastructure, it makes creative solutions of delivering internet to millions of people possible. Google is intending to build huge wireless networks across Africa and Asia, using high-altitude balloons and blimps; the company is intending to finance, build and help operate networks from sub-Saharan Africa to Southeast Asia, with the aim of connecting around a billion people to the web (Geere, 2013).
Connecting new users to the internet will effectively funnel more customers into Google advertising technologies. There are various ways that Google can continue growing their business, however expanding the market by bringing people high speed internet is an ingenious idea. Google has been working on this project for quite some time and has recently announced that the brand new fleet of blimps is finally ready to take to the skies (Google, N.d.). Many of the blimps will also have a digital prompt that can display text ads. Many of the customers that are already using AdWords can seamlessly integrate them into the blimp ads which allows them to reach customers in new ways.
One of the ethical issues that will accompany this technology is that these blimps will be positioned in the sky. While some will undoubtedly be thrilled by this technology, others will view it as a kind of visual pollution. Having control over the sky will force people to view content that they might not want to see. Advertising could reach a point where it becomes so pervasive that it detracts from the quality of life. There should probably be some boundaries that should be considered hands off from the realm of marketing. Marketing that is too pervasive could be considered a form of pollution.
Google glass is a revolutionary new design that will entirely change the way that people use the web. Google Glass is basically pair of glasses or eye wear that have a tiny transparent computer monitor that can display an image. This monitor can be used for a variety of different tasks that allow the user to connect to the internet or a pc using their voice or other input devices. The possibilities for this device are nearly endless. People will be able to have access to information that can improve people's quality of life. Essentially, Google Glass is a camera, display, touchpad, battery and microphone built into spectacle frames so that you can perch a display in your field of vision, film, take pictures, search and translate on the go; the principle is one that has been around for years in science fiction, and more recently it's become a slightly clunky reality (Rivington, 2013).
The early versions of this technology had relatively few features. However, the technology is developing quickly and more and more features are becoming available. One technology that would be useful in this format would be Google Maps. This would allow users to access navigation information in a seamless way as they are traveling. For marketers, this would also allow a revolutionary platform to place ads for customers who are close by. For example, a gas station could place an ad about a discount or their current gas prices to Google Glass users as they are making their way along the interstate. Shops at a mall could post ads to people as they walk by their stores. Marketing on the Google Glass platform could allow marketers to get information to potential customers in a way that is relevant to them as they go through their daily lives.
Google Wind Turbines
Over the past few years, Google has started to turn into an energy company - a renewable energy company - on top of everything else that it does and they've made countless investments in solar power and wind power, as well as more experimental clean energy projects; their goal is to be powered by 100% renewable energy (Richard, 2013). Google has grown its total wind energy portfolio to more than 570 MW, which they say is "enough energy to power approximately 170,000 U.S. households (Richard, 2013). This has positioned Google as the industry leader with regards to efficiency and investments in renewable fuels. Greenpeace referred to Google's role in this development as (Google, N.d.):
"Google has been the most open in the industry about the importance of increasing not only energy efficiency within the sector, but also the need to move our energy sources to renewable energy. Google has made significant efforts to increase the company's transparency. This is a great step forward…Google's commitment to using renewable energy as much as possible has set the bar for the industry."
It is hard to be critical of Google's role in developing renewable energy. Tackling energy issues is one of the biggest challenges our species will face into the future. The only argument that could be made is that other agencies should be taking the lead role in transitioning to a sustainable future, such as the federal government. However, Google's dedication to developing the renewable energy industry is admirable to say the least. Furthermore, it also makes good business sense. Fortune Magazine explained it like this (Google, N.d.):
"While Google has abandoned its quest to be an innovator in clean-energy technology, it hasn't stopped investing in green power. Google pays more for clean energy than it would for power off the grid. However, it has locked into long-term pricing contracts for renewables and expects those contracts to eventually make money as conventional power becomes more expensive over time."
Thus not only does this make good sense for the environment but it also provides a return on this investment.
There is also a strategic aspect of Google's involvement in this industry. Computing, in its various forms, requires a lot of power. Even with Google's enormous investment in renewable energy it still only represents a fraction of the power that it takes to fuel its operations. In the future when power consumption continues to be a more pressing issue, it is likely that computer users will have to scale back some of their computer usage to save power. By developing the renewable energy market, Google is also making sure that it has the power available that its customers will use to access their products well into the future. Therefore, not only does it make financial sense and is good for the environment, but it also positions the company in a better spot from a long-term perspective.
Google Cloud Print
Google cloud print is a service that is offered for free online to anyone that has a Gmail account. People often have several different devices these days and would often have to transfer files to a computer that was physically hooked up to a printer in order to print a file that they wanted. With Google Cloud Print you can basically bypass many of these steps and print a file from the cloud. Google describes these services as (Google, N.d.):
"Google Cloud Print is a new technology that connects your printers to the web. Using Google Cloud Print, you can make your home and work printers available to you and anyone you choose, from the applications you use every day. Google Cloud Print works on your phone, tablet, Chromebook, PC, and any other web-connected device you want to print from."
There are special printers that are being marketed that support these services automatically; however any printer can be used as well by setting it up manually. There are a range of third party applications that all make use of the services as well. There are third party apps for nearly the entire different device operating platforms available such as android, iPhone, windows, Macintosh and many more.
Privacy is undoubtedly an issue with anything that operates on the cloud. It would be feasible that if someone got access to your printer that they could print things without your approval. This would have implications for marketers as well. For example, there are undoubtedly third party apps that use advertising to fund their operations. Therefore a user could give an application permission to use the Google Print Cloud service and then be bombarded by advertisements on their printers in their home or office. There would also be the potential to inadvertently send a file to the wrong printer which would again be a privacy concern. There are many files that a user might want to safeguard and print the old fashioned way to ensure total privacy.
Google has been the target of a lot of negative publicity for allowing Canadian pharmacies to advertise in their adwords system. In 2011 there was a debacle in which Google paid $500 million to avoid criminal prosecution by the Department of Justice for profiting from…