Google celebrates 14th birthday with cake and underwater maps

Google already maps the earth, the sky, and the streets. Now, along with a birthday Google doodle, the search engine maps underwater. 

Google
Google celebrated its birthday with cake.
Google
A screengrab from Google Maps. Google announced this week that it would allow users to virtually explore – in Street View – coral reefs in Australia, the Philippines and Hawaii.

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.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.