Google celebrates 14th birthday with cake and underwater maps (+video)(Read article summary)
Google already maps the earth, the sky, and the streets. Now, along with a birthday Google doodle, the search engine maps underwater.
The Google homepage Thursday depicts a multicolor cake and a whole lot of candles – a celebration of sorts for the Mountain View company, which is turning 14. Want to know how influential Google has become as it edges deeper into its teenage years? Well, you need look no further than this week's announcement that Google, in addition to mapping the earth, and the stars, and the streets of the world, is now going to map the ocean floor.
Writing on the Lat Long blog, Google exec Brian McClendon this week took the wraps off its first undersea offering: a partnership with The Catlin Seaview Survey, which will allow users to pan around aquatic environments in Australia, the Philippines, and Hawaii the same way you check out a street on Street View.
Here's another way to look at it (so to speak): In the past 14 years, Google has progressed from simple purveyor of search results to full-service information powerhouse – a company that can not only tell you what the Great Barrier Reef is, but also take you there, virtually.
"With these vibrant and stunning photos you don’t have to be a scuba diver—or even know how to swim – to explore and experience six of the ocean’s most incredible living coral reefs," McClendon wrote on Lat Long. "Now, anyone can become the next virtual Jacques Cousteau and dive with sea turtles, fish and manta rays in Australia, the Philippines and Hawaii."
In the spirit of equanimity, it may be worth noting that Google's rapid expansion into our lives – an expansion that has been proceeding steadily for the past 14 years – doesn't make everyone happy. Want proof? Navigate over to Google.com, and type the words "Google is" into the search bar. Your results will reflect the most popular searches for that term. For us, it looks something like this:
Google is evil
Google is God
Google is down
Google is taking over the world
Any key auto-complete phrases missing from that list? Drop us a line in the comments section and let us know. And to receive regular updates on how technology intersects daily life, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.