Self-driving cars, Google Glass, and virtual reality headsets: it is no secret that Google builds products that seem to be pulled straight from the imaginations of science fiction writers. But did you know there are futuristic Google technologies you can use right now for free?
We’ve put together a list of six free and ready-to-use tools that will make you feel like you just got out of a time machine. From sending links via sound waves to navigating outer space from your desktop, we are truly entering a new era of technological progress. Join us and explore the future now.
1. Send links to your friends via soundwaves
Emailing a link to your office neighbor is so 2014. Google Tone allows you to share links with those nearby through unique sound waves. Just press the speaker button in the top corner of your browser and a series of beeps and buzzes will let you know it’s working. You can even use Google Tone with long-distance friends by playing the beeps to the intended recipient over a Hangouts video call.
2. Google search has gone hands free
Forget about manually typing out your next Google search like some sort of caveman. Start by clicking the little microphone on the right side of the Google search bar to activate voice search, then simply say out loud what you want Google to find for you. Now that your hands are no longer needed, you can use the newfound freedom to knit a sweater… or a space suit.
3. This personal time machine will retrace your steps for you
Where were you at 3:00 pm on February 12th? Using Google Maps’ Location History, you can see a map of everywhere you have been on any particular day. Browse the places you visited and the route you took to get there. Try it out now and rediscover that hidden shortcut you took to the office last month.
4. Explore the universe from your desktop
For those of you that have ever dreamed of becoming an astronaut, now is your chance. Soar through the Milky Way and beyond on Google Sky, a version of Google Maps designed to view what lies beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Use the search bar to find points of interest like constellations and far off planets that are scattered throughout this vast extraterrestrial map. If floating in space is making you queasy there are also surface maps of the moon and Mars to check out. This is one small click for man, but one giant map for mankind.
5. Quantify your browsing habits
Have you ever wondered where you are spending your time on the web? This mystery can now be solved thanks to Chrome Visual History, a Chrome Extension that quantifies your browsing habits and displays them to you in easy to read pie charts. This can be a great tool for analyzing which sites you visit most often and optimizing your online life, or maybe just your bookmark bar.
6. Turn a mobile device into a desktop computer
The line between phone and desktop computer just a got a little more blurry. Access your computer’s desktop from anywhere with the Chrome Remote Desktop extension and mobile app. Navigation is easy when your pointer finger becomes your trackpad/mouse and the clacking of keys is replaced by the gentle tapping of your thumbs. You don’t need to be at your desk to be a part of the future of computing–it’s in your pocket.
Bonus: The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Google Galaxy
Google snuck in a little homage for fans of the sci-fi classic, A Hitchhiker’s Guide To Galaxy. Try entering “What is the answer to life, the universe and everything?” into the Google search bar for a fun referential answer to the age old equation at the top of the results page.