Step aside GPS, introducing VPS: Three mega-cool Google innovations

When they say innovation, you say.... Google. This is why Google is more than just a search engine, and in fact the most innovative company around.

If you thought Google was just a quick way to find the nearest Italian deli (you should probably know this already), or check out if Goodfellas really was the best film Oscar winner in 1990 (answer below), or discover who invented the light bulb (it wasn’t Edison), then you must be steadfastly stuck in the last decade. Google has its fingers in so many pies, it’s impossible to keep count. Yes, it’s still your first stop for all your SEO marketing needs, but it’s also the world’s most innovative company (sorry, Apple fanboys).

Here are three of the most exciting things happening at Google at the moment, and none of them have anything to do with your potpourri of daily search engine queries.


The Global Positioning System (GPS) works with your GPS receiver (otherwise known as your phone) interacting with a minimum of four satellites in order to accurately understand its position. This information can then be used to track your movements and estimate your speed and direction, place you onto a street map, and give you traffic updates, local amenities and perhaps a rogue Pokemon or two.

What GPS can’t do is navigate you around the inside of a building. This is where Google’s Visual Positioning System (VPS) comes in. Rather than relying on satellites, your phone will use 3D visualisation tech to recognise objects around you, so calculating where you are. This way, you’ll be able to walk into a library and find that book, into a shopping centre and find those trainers, into a theatre and find that seat.

Augmented reality might allow school kids to walk around their classroom as if it were a museum; the visually impaired will have an essential tool for navigating multiplexes, facilities and institutions; and the rest of us will lose any remaining inherent sense of direction forever.

Google Lens

Why look, think, recall or imagine at all when your phone can do it for you? This app will utilise image recognition software to understand what you are doing and what you want, providing you with all kinds of useful information and help throughout the mundanities of your typical day.

Aim your phone at a router password and be instantly logged into the local wifi without cracking the Enigma code first; know what the names are of flowers, trees, birds and bees as you pass them by; and scan a menu to have images and reviews of the dishes that lie therein.

Google Photos

New cool stuff is happening with Google’s photo storage and sharing app. As well as being able to recognise your friends, places, even animals, Google’s clever cloud-based software can recognise types of events, stabilise moving images and intelligently suggest sharing options based on the content of the pic (ever get that feeling that someone’s watching you?). Not only that, it can even ‘Photoshop’ your pics to remove obstructions.

As for that 1990 Oscar winner? It wasn’t.

Further reading on Google

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Freddie Halvorson

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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