The 5 Trends Driving Alphabet’s Innovations

August 10, 2017

The tech race continues to heat up and companies are charging along, expelling new innovations by the minute.  Following up on our blog post on Amazon’s latest innovations, Foresight Factory is now taking a look at the trends driving the latest products (at the time of writing) from Alphabet.  

One of the biggest buzzwords that is likely to carry on into 2018 and beyond is AI.  Innovations built on this technology are gaining momentum as devices and apps become more integrated and mobile – and consumers become more receptive (we predict 64% will be using or interested in an auto-replenishing service by 2025) to machines telling us what to do, where to go, and what to wear (essentially becoming a tech-savvy version of our mothers).


1. Enterprise Nation: Gradient Ventures

 Alphabet is reported to invest between $1-8 million in 10-15 companies a year via Gradient Ventures, claiming a minority stake in the AI-driven start ups. The aim of this fund is to accelerate developments in artificial intelligence by enabling new businesses to work alongside Google engineers and receive specialist AI training.  Our trend Enterprise Nation speaks to a culture of entrepreneurship amid the backdrop of automation and robotization. Alphabet’s venture fund is likely to appeal to the 40% of US consumers who would rather work for a startup than a large business. Not only are they empowering theses AI companies under Gradient Ventures, but ensuring a stake in the future via indirect assets.


2. De-Pop!: Alphabet’s self-driving cars

Alphabet’s Waymo, a self-driving car project mainly confined to the streets of San Francisco, is set to expand with the announcement of its partnership with Avis. Relying on Avis to provide maintenance of the automated cars, in turn Alphabet’s investment strengthens the rental company’s position against rival Uber in the self-driving vehicle industry. In May 2017, Alphabet confirmed a similar project with Lyft that was predicted to be worth $30bn by 2030 by Morgan Stanley. Foresight Factory trend De-Pop! refers to the rise of people-free services that disrupt employment. Already in the US, we see academics and writers actively praising the benevolent potential of automation and nudging public policy away from job creation schemes. As potentially disastrous as it sounds, the implication for consumers would be more time allocated to meaningful career pursuits as opposed to conventional forms of employment.

3. Locational Living: Google Lens

Google Lens upgrades the smartphone camera from a means to capture the world, to a tool for user engagement with the brands and establishments around them. Pointing a camera at particular entities, for example a restaurant, conjures a review and rating of the venue or even directs to an online shop. Around half of consumers are interested in a service or device that could detect their location and suggest interesting and spontaneous things to do. Driving this behaviour is our trend Locational Living, which is also fuelled by high smartphone penetration, which is at 90% globally.


4. Customised Reality: The revival of Google Glass

Once thought of as killed off, the Google Glass has been revived! This time, even the name – Glass Enterprise Edition – has been revamped for industrial purposes. Since its nascence, Foresight Factory has been charting the trialling of this innovation by companies like Virgin Atlantic and Copenhagen Airport back in 2014.  We could well be on our way to our prediction that by 2025, 42% of consumers will be using AR apps monthly as Glass Enterprise Edition brings its augmented reality capabilities to the workplace – currently, Glass’s capabilities are used by engineers at Boeing. The repositioning of the product to B2B demonstrates that the trend Customised Reality can penetrate and enrich work life just as much as it can in the leisure sector.


This post is part two of our focus on tech giant innovations. Read Part One on Amazon here.


Written by Alexis Bausch

Intern at the New York Foresight Factory office and student at the University of Michigan (Class of 2019). Wish for the future: the ability to carry on a conversation with my best dog.

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