The Tech Behind Each Letter In Google’s Alphabet

0/28 Replay Gallery More Galleries

The Tech Behind Each Letter In Google’s Alphabet

26 GIFs and photos showing Google’s visions for the future


Google From A To Z

Drones that shoot Internet, contact lenses that monitor diabetes, and drones that run like animals. These are just a few of the technologies under Google’s new Alphabet umbrella. Click on for 26 GIFs and photos of Google’s attempts to build the future.


A Is For Alphabet

Alphabet is the new parent company that Google announced will house all its non-core business projects. By giving different initiatives like Nest and Life Sciences more independence and their own CEOs, they’ll be able to build faster and retain better talent.


B Is For Boston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics builds terrifyingly advanced robots. This one’s called WildCat, and it also makes ones that can run, jump, and that look like humans. Google acquired Boston Dynamics last year.


C Is For Calico

Calico is Google’s life-extension project, where it’s spending hundreds of millions of dollars to fight neurodegeneration and cancer. Its work with a drug called P7C3 could lead to a treatment for Alzheimer’s.


D Is For DeepMind

DeepMind is the artificial intelligence startup Google acquired last year to jumpstart its AI efforts. Few specifics are known about DeepMind, but it could help Google with anything from self-driving cars to automatically organizing photos to improving its Google Now assistant.


E Is For Google Earth

Google Earth lets you explore a virtual globe stitched together from satellite imagery. Over time, Google has started to add outer space and the depths of the ocean to its omni-map.


F Is For Google Fiber

Google Fiber brings super high-speed 1-gigabit Internet and cable TV to people’s homes via fiber optic cable. While Google Fiber is only available in a few cities now, it’s roughly 100X faster than what most unlucky Americans have.


G Is For Google Glass

Everyone knows the first consumer version of the Google Glass eyewear computer was an awkward disaster. But now the company is reportedly building a version for businesses that could let workers get instructions without looking away from their task.


H Is for Hangouts

Hangouts is Google’s group video chat platform. It can dynamically tell who is talking and give them the spotlight, while overlaid masks and effects can keep users from feeling self-conscious on camera.


I Is For Google Ideas

Google Ideas is a think tank that builds tools to fight online oppression. One of its products, the Digital Attack Map, can track and visualize the sources of DDOS attacks.


J Is For Jump VR

Jump is Google’s partnership with GoPro to build a virtual reality camera. It uses 16 GoPro Heros in a circular mount to capture real life in every direction and then stitch it into VR.


K Is For Knowledge Graph

The Google Knowledge Graph is a database of semantic search information that helps Google give users actual answers to their questions rather than just links to click. It’s powered by tens of billions of facts.


L Is For Life Sciences

The Life Sciences division of Google[x] wants to make us healthier with products like this Diabetes-monitoring contact lens. The team has also worked on a self-stabilizing spoon for patients with tremors, a baseline study of what a healthy human is, synthetic skin, and a disease-detecting nanoparticle platform.


M Is For Makani

Makani is the company Google acquired that makes an energy kite that can harvest wind power. It’s more efficient than a turbine on the ground because it floats up to where there is stronger wind. The kite makes giant circles in the air to spin its blades and generate energy.


N Is For Nest

Nest is the center of Google’s connected home initiative. Today Nest makes a thermostat, smoke alarm, and security camera, but one day Google could connect all our appliances to the Internet.


O Is For "Ok Google" Voice Commands

“OK Google” is the voice prompt used to wake up Google’s mobile and Chrome apps. Speech recognition technology deciphers what you say and can turn it into commands like “Ok Google, give me directions to Dolores Park.”


P Is For Project Loon

Project Loon is Google’s Internet accessibility initiative that uses lighter-than-air balloons to beam connectivity down to people in remote areas. It’s now planning a massive test where it will blanket the entire nation of Sri Lanka with Internet access.


Q Is For QUIC Protocol

QUIC, which stands for Quick UDP Internet Connection, is a protocol designed at Google to speed up the web. It’s been shown to reduce rebufferings of video content by roughly 30%, and can make web pages load faster on slow connections.


R Is For reCaptcha

reCaptcha is a bot-thwarting security technology Google bought from Carnegie Mellon University. It protects signup forms by forcing people to prove they’re human through typing in jumbled text, which simultaneously helps Google digitize books. A new version can detect if you’re a robot from a single click.


S Is For Skybox Imaging

Skybox Imaging is the micro-satellite startup Google acquired last year for $500 million. Its smaller satellites are cheaper to build and launch than traditional ones. That makes it easier to get lots of them in the sky and get more frequently updated images of the planet, like these shots of Burning Man being built.


T Is For Titan Aerospace

Titan Aerospace is the solar-powered drone startup Google acquired last year. The drones could help Google update the photographic view of Maps faster, or beam Internet connectivity down to users beyond the reach of cell towers.


U is For Google URL Builder

URL Builder is part of Google Analytics, one of the top ways to track traffic on websites. While it might not seem as sexy as its other technologies, Google Analytics enables other innovators to know what’s working and iterate towards something better.


V Is For Autonomous Vehicles

Google’s self-driving cars are now in testing on the road in Mountain View and Austin. The autonomous vehicles use machine vision to safely react to pedestrians, signals, and other cars. Eventually this technology could reduce traffic and let you sleep on your commute to work.


W Is For Project Wing

Project Wing is Google’s drone delivery project. Its prototype can already drop and reel back in small packages, and it could one day help deliver essential goods like medicine to remote areas.


X Is For Google[x]

Before Alphabet, Google organized many of its various moonshots within its Google[x] lab. It’s run by this guy, who has the perfect name: Astro Teller.


Y Is For YouTube

YouTube is making the leap into virtual reality with the ability to watch 360-degree video. With a Google Cardboard or other virtual reality headset, YouTube users can watch 360 content from any angle.


Z Is For ZygoteBody

Google Body was originally called ZygoteBody before it was shut down. It rendered manipulable 3D anatomical models of the human body. Users could virtually peel away layers of skin, muscle, blood vessels, and bones to learn about what’s inside us.


Why Did Google Create Alphabet?