10 Biggest Ways Google Has Innovated Since Its IPO 10 Years Ago

A decade ago today, Google became more than just a search engine.

August 19, 2014, 3:07 AM
PHOTO: A man is seen in front of a display with the website of the internet search engine Google in this undated file photo.
A man is seen in front of a display with the website of the internet search engine Google in this undated file photo.
U. Baumgarten via Getty Images

— -- intro: When Google made its initial public offering 10 years ago today, the company set out on a path that has continually redefined how the world interacts with technology.

Raising $1.2 billion from its from its public debut on August 19, 2004, Google was able to charge forward with an ambitious plan for expansion -- attracting top talent, creating jobs and snapping up other companies, such as YouTube, along the way.

While search still remains at the heart of the company, Google has used their IPO as a springboard for innovation. Here are 10 Google products from Google that have reshaped the business and how we interact with technology in our daily routines.

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Why Google Just Bought A Drone Company

quicklist: 1title: Self-Driving Cartext: Google unveiled a prototype of its first self-driving car in May -- however they haven't been given the green light on the open road just yet.

The company has been testing autonomous vehicles for years and points out that having a self-driving car could remove the burden of travel for many.

No need to look for parking at a crowded shopping mall. Instead, users could let their self-driving cars drop them off to run a quick errand. A mother who took a test ride said in the video that having the car would allow her more time to catch up with her son.

The cars could also allow seniors who might not otherwise be able to drive the chance to enjoy mobility. And drunk driving? Not a problem when your car will drive itself.

The cars have logged more than half a million miles, according to Google.

How Google's Self-Driving Car Redefines Travel

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quicklist: 2title: Google Shopping Express text: Google delivers search results and email, but the company has also branched out into same-day delivery of physical goods, meaning you never have to leave your house again. (Unless you want to.)

Using Google’s Shopping Express site, users can shop inventory from several big box stores online and then select a delivery time that works for them. A Google Express delivery person will then bring the order to their doorstep.

The downside? It's currently only available in parts of California and Manhattan.

Google Shopping Express: Same-Day Delivery Beyond the Web

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quicklist: 3title: Google Mapstext: What did we do before Google Maps?

Answer: Get lost using a paper map, argue with significant others and ultimately end up asking a stranger for directions.

Google Maps went live in February 2005. Months later, satellite views and driving directions were integrated. Two years later, Google added traffic data, easing the pain of commuting for everyone.

Google Maps App for iPhone Released With Turn-by-Turn Navigation, Transit Directions and Street View

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quicklist: 4title: Project Loontext: Google believes balloons may solve the problem of Internet access in areas without the infrastructure to connect.

The company unveiled a plan in June 2013 to bring internet access to two-thirds of the world's unconnected people.

"We believe it's possible to create a ring of balloons that fly around the globe on the stratospheric winds and provide Internet access to the earth below. Balloons present some really hard science problems, but we're excited about the progress so far," the Project Loon website says.

Google Project Uses Balloons to Expand Internet Access

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quicklist: 5title: Google Glasstext: What if a cyborg could take your photo without you knowing and look up everything about you without ever having to walk away? It's possible with Glass.

Google's futuristic eyewear overlays digital information into the real world -- and the list of uses seems to increase every week.

Google Glass: What You Can and Can't Do With Google's Wearable Computer

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quicklist: 6title: Chrometext: Five years after it was released, Google's Chrome browser boasts 750 million users.

The browser allows users offline access to their Gmail, Calendar and documents, winning fans among a crowd fatigued of Internet Explorer.

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quicklist: 7title: Google Street Viewtext: It's captured someone's now deceased Grandma on her porch and an attempted burglar, among a slew of other bizarre images.

Google Street View debuted within the Google Maps platform in May 2007, allowing users to explore five major U.S. cities at eye level.

Today, users can explore all seven continents from their computer screens.

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quicklist: 8title: Project Aratext: Google wants to make affordable phones a reality.

Google's "Project Ara," an affordable smartphone with swappable and customizable hardware, could shake up the market.

According to Google's "Project Ara" module developer's kit, users will be able to build on to a basic structural framework to customize their phone with different modules to design a phone with the look, capability and price that they want.

As new technology comes to market, users won't have to wait for a new phone and can instead just swap in the modules, empowering users to customize their technology.

Google's Modular Smartphone Is One Step Closer to Being in Your Hands


quicklist: 9title: Android text: Google introduced Android, the first open platform for mobile devices, in 2007.

The company and outside developers have continued to innovate and expand the capabilities of the platform.

In June, Google unveiled Android Wear smart watches at the annual Google developer’s conference in San Francisco.

Users can simply sync the watch with their Android phones and wear it on their wrists.

Using verbal commands, they can then carry out a variety of tasks, including ordering a pizza, scheduling a car service or sending a text message.

With every interaction, Google said Android Wear better understands the context of what you care about, making every interaction even more seamless.

Android Wear Handles Everything From Pizzas to Your Love Life

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quicklist: 10title: Chromecasttext: Google made a bid for your TV in July 2013.

Google's Chromecast, which is the size of a ketchup packet, simply plugs into an HDTV, connects to the Internet and then allows users to control what's on the screen with an existing smartphone, tablet or laptop.

This includes content from services including HBO, Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, Rdio and more.

The technology allows you to do other things on your phone or tablet, for instance reading an email, while still streaming the video on the TV. And the best part? It retails for around $35.

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