* The ubiquitous Internet juggernaut has its proverbial hand in several honey pots--from personal devices such as Google Glass, to tracking ships, to big data, and the company is poised to enter a number of industries in the coming years.
The company could make a huge splash in the defense industry. Already, a number of Google products are serving or being tested for military purposes.
At Arlington, Va.-based Thermopylae Sciences and Technology, a company that specializes in transitioning commercial products to the defense world, Google has opened many doors.
Debuting with much fanfare earlier this year was Google's Glass project. Glass is pegged as a revolutionary way to share information. It works by placing a prism on the frame of a pair of glasses, which allows wearers to see a screen in front of them. Users are then able to check email, take photos or videos and update social media accounts. While currently only able to complete basic tasks, Google earlier this year opened up the devices to select developers who are working to apply the technology to numerous industries.
At Thermopylae, company executives tasked engineers with finding new ways to use Glass in a military setting, said Chief Innovation Officer John Clark.
"It's just this cool idea of, 'What can be done?' and then, 'How can we apply it when the time is right?" Clark said.
One engineer recently used Glass to steer a quadrocopter unmanned aerial vehicle. The drone navigates by following the movement of the Glass wearer. A flick of the head to the right and the quadrocopter turns. Raise the head and the craft lifts up. The wearer also can stream video from the UAV into the Glass display.
While just one example, the exercise shows that Glass could someday be used to help soldiers keep their hands free while carrying out valuable reconnaissance in the field, Clark said.
Still, Glass is far from being ready for the battlefield, and Google has no plans to turn Glass into a defense product.
"Google has absolutely no interest in selling Glass to the defense or military space at all," Clark said. "I think its real focus is on the consumer space."
But once Glass leaves its beta stage and becomes widely available, nothing is stopping a company from applying it to soldier needs, Clark said.
While the idea of using Glass on battlefields is promising, it's a hard sell, said Greg Giaquinto, a senior aerospace and defense analyst at Forecast International, a Newtown, Conn.-based market...