The most successful Internet company of our time turns 16 this year. Much like a teenager trying on various identities, it’s determined to be more than a search engine, although Google is best known for that deceptively simple function, and more than an advertising platform, although the vast majority of its revenue comes from ads.
As the cost per click–the rate advertisers pay for an online ad–continues declining, Google is pursuing projects that could reinvent the company–and society. For its breadth, ambition, and relentless spirit to keep creating the future, Google tops our 2014 list of the Most Innovative Companies in business. This is the second time that Google has earned the No. 1 spot. The last time was in 2008.
Many of its current projects or milestones are life-changing, or aim to be:
Calico, a spin-off company, working to extend the human lifespan.
Google’s autonomous vehicles, which reached the 500,000 driver-free mile benchmark–incident-free.
Google Fiber, which is bringing gigabit Internet service to Austin, Texas, and Provo, Utah, inspiring Los Angeles and Louisville, Kentucky, to follow.
And much of Google’s work changes our daily lives through shear convenience:
Glass, which is making wearables the next computing trend.
Shopping Express, an experiment in same-day delivery with national and local retailers.
Google Now, which reminds users when their favorite band or author has a new release and when the last train is leaving–before it’s too late.
As we said, there are too many to count. But we tried. Click here for our complete list.