What Google's investments reveal about the company and the future

Analysis: Google is an ever-growing force in the world and has made its way into more aspects of our lives than many may realize. The Monitor dug through Google's hundreds of investments and acquisitions to paint a picture of where Google thinks six key industries are headed.


1. The future, according to Google

Alan Diaz/AP/File
The Google logo at a store in Hialeah, Fla. Europe's highest court ruled Tuesday that Google and other search engines must limit personal information provided in search results.

Most people in Silicon Valley likely have a recurring nightmare of becoming the next MySpace, a prime example of how quickly one can become an obsolete experience. This fear is what keeps the tech industry relentlessly pursuing its next great venture – and the king of new, great ventures is Google.

“You have to stay a tenth of a step ahead of everyone else who’s even thinking about getting into your space, because once there starts to be momentum for leaving your ecosystem ... the thing can collapse very quickly,” says Alex Rosaen, director of public policy and economic analysis at the Anderson Economic Group in East Lansing, Mich. “Like a flock of birds, the whole flock can change direction and you can be the next MySpace.”

Once hailed as just a “search engine giant," Google seems to have outgrown its original title. Google’s hundreds and hundreds of undertakings span over seemingly every industry and highlight how the tech titan is re-imagining the human experience, with its own products and investments, of course.

When Google financially explores a sector, it invests big and often. Though the company’s pursuit of different industries has become common knowledge, the details of these investments are almost always kept quiet. This article will take the bits of scattered information about Google’s entrepreneurial adventures to form a picture of how the company envisions the future.

Google has made a lucrative business out of investments, much like others in Silicon Valley, and created two investing arms: Google Ventures, for start-ups, and Google Capital, for well-established businesses. This article will focus on acquisitions and investments in travel, education, business, banking, robots, and artificial intelligence since 2009, when Google Ventures was created and the company really began to throw its weight and money around.

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