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2007 Top Ten: Googly Moments

Whether it was making demands of federal regulators or getting sued by big media, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) was never far away from the front page during 2007.

But just because a company gets lots of good press doesn't mean everything it does is worth a damn. So what did Google do in 2007 that was truly remarkable? We made a list of ten things we think stand out as interesting and relevant to the broader world of next-gen communications:

10. To the Moon, Sergey!
Is there anywhere Google won't go? It's a fair question after Google sponsored the Lunar X Prize Competition, offering $20 million to anyone who could land a "privately funded robotic rover on the moon."

The winning moon rover must be capable of "completing several mission objectives, including roaming the lunar surface for at least 500 meters and sending video, images, and data back to the Earth." So, yes, it's far out. But definitely a communications story.

9. One Phone Number, Any Device
Google made a number of acquisitions in 2007, but one of those with the most potential is unified communications startup GrandCentral Communications . The company allows subscribers to choose any phone -- be it landline or mobile -- to ring when a single number is called, and enables users to set up rules determining which devices should ring depending on who is calling. The GrandCentral system also allows users to converge their voicemail inboxes into a single account that can be accessed from any device or via the Web.

While the service is still in beta, there are limitless possibilities for how Google can integrate GrandCentral's unified communications into its email and messaging services, and eventually its wireless initiatives. (See Google Buys Unified Services Startup.)

8. It's Not Easy (Or Cheap) Being Green
In November, Google said it would pour millions of dollars into a strategic initiative to develop renewable energy sources in an effort to create electricity cheaper than that produced from coal. The initiative, awkwardly dubbed RE < C (Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal), will focus on solar power, wind power, enhanced geothermal systems, and other technologies, and will cost the company tens of millions of dollars in 2008.

Of course, Google is really no more Earth-friendly than, say, Wal-Mart. Each company wants to lower its cost of running a huge business. Wal-Mart's freezer lights have motion sensors to help whittle down its soaring electricity costs. Google's RE < C will help do the same for its huge data center farms.

7. Deep Sea Diving
Google's plan to join a consortium of carriers, including Asia Netcom and Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS), in laying a submarine cable in the Pacific Ocean is one of the company's several infrastructure investments of note. Earlier, Google has bought dark fiber, peered with telcos and ISPs, made a play for wireless networks, and invested in powerline technology. In this case, Google is seeking low-cost access to a fast-growing market, and giving it an opportunity to peer directly with, and offer managed services to, ISPs in Asia. (See Google's Building Unity Underseas.)

6. Femtocell Fantasies
Google expanded its wireless initiative in July with a strategic investment in 3G home base-station maker Ubiquisys Ltd. The search giant was part of a $25 million Series B financing round with existing VCs Accel Partners , Advent Ventures , and Atlas Venture . The cash splash gives Google visibility into wireless and home networks, according to Heavy Reading analyst Gabriel Brown. And it could enable subscribers to use their handsets as local area connections on a home network, access the Internet from a mobile carrier, and launch applications on other home devices. (See Google Invests in 3G Startup.)

Next Page: Google World Domination Continues

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freetoair 12/5/2012 | 2:57:01 PM
re: 2007 Top Ten: Googly Moments Too bad they did not spend some more effort on improving tier Search functions. Isn't that supposed to be thier core value? Yet it sucks. Think about - "Feeling Lucky" - don't count on it. What a time drain. They do not pusblish thier data - it is closed. Gee I thought thier hiigh-brow goodie goodie PR crap was for the good of all? No. They operate a closed system. You have idea why or what data they are serving up to you. And frankly they want to keep you "clicking" around for hours search for something - now don't they - that is how they make money. Stinks. May be better is some ways than anything else (MS, Yahoo, etc.) but I think they are keeping only just a bit better on purpose. Keep clicking...Feeling lucky?

More people are starting to understand this...it is only a matter of time before some anti-trust and monopoly suits start...they need to provide "open data" and allow "open search" into thier databases. Yes it is coming to that. They now have a monopoly in many respects and something needs to change. Think about - how many supposedly great "services" work so poorly? But people are just grateful that they can find anything and will send hours looking and clicking away which is good for Google - but not for the user. Thier search is crap and not unintentionally.
redface 12/5/2012 | 2:57:00 PM
re: 2007 Top Ten: Googly Moments Have you had a chance to try Google Patent Search? It's fantastic! Compared to the US Patent Office database which only provides page by page TIFF files, Google Patent returns whole patents in pdf format. What a great community service.

The reason Google has a motto "don't be evil" is because they make a ton of money by offering people services that can be easily switched. Imagine that Google has done something very bad, and there were an outcry to boycott Google. It would be effortless to switch to Yahoo or MSN Search. Google simply could not let that happen. Therefore they try very hard to have a good reputation. Compare this with that of Microsoft. Everyone knows it is evil. However, it is hard not to use Windows despite all the effort out there. As an average PC user, I have been using open source programs like Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird, and they are many times better than MS Internet Explorer and Outlook. I hope in the years to come Google and the others can keep attacking Microsoft until it collapses. Go Google!
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