Progress depends on radical innovation. In the past, many companies have focused on developing next-generation consumer electronics, an extremely lucrative sector of technology. With a bit of passion and unconventional thinking, Google has shifted their thinking away from the short-sighted consumer electronics field, moving towards the development of green technology.

Though Google heavily emphasized its growing mobile presence and new desktop operating system during its annual Google I/O developer’s conference last week, the company still released information detailing the progress of its environmentally-friendly initiatives. One of the most interesting announcements that the company made was the development of an application plug-in that would help automobiles determine where you are going, helping them become more efficient by analyzing trends.

This technology, called Prediction, maximizes fuel and power consumption, which effectively reduces carbon emissions. Collaborating with engineers at Ford, Google is helping cars “remember” how we drive each and every day by utilizing cloud computing and pattern-matching algorithms. Why would Google allocate its valuable resources to develop technology that would contribute to a sector of the economy that the company does not specialize in?

It is easy to say that the company would do it solely to enter into an unexplored market. There have been many rumors in the past that Google would eventually enter the automobile market, and this would be an obvious step in making that rumor reality. What is far more likely is that the Internet monolith is contributing to making the planet a bit greener, bit by bit.

In recent years, Google has made its environmentally-conscious initiatives well-known throughout the gadget universe. Whether it is simply cutting down on the emissions of data farms or having goats roam Google’s campus to eliminate the need for fertilizer and lawn mowers, the company has always strived to cut down on greenhouse gases. In a way akin to IBM, Google is contributing to the future green advancements of the world by implementing them today.

Google would be nowhere without its data centers. Every search algorithm, cloud-based computer, and mobile device heavily relies on these massive server farms. Any given unit of energy that is poured into the typical data center is never used again.  by managing to half their data center energy use through practical thinking, using the excess energy to power office complexes, Google has effectively cut down on its environmental impact. The Internet search giant even forces their employees to work in a toasty environment to save energy.

Utilizing its renowned satellite services, Google is now providing information to indigenous tribes on deforestation, giving them the ability to track and prevent the atrocity from taking place. Wildlife activist groups can use Google Earth to map areas at risk of being destroyed by logging companies and palm oil producers. With severe drought plaguing the countryside, French authorities have used Google’s mapping services to determine agricultural regions that should face water restrictions.

After purchasing a wind farm in Iowa only a few years ago, Google announced its agreement to buy electricity from a wind generation facility in Oklahoma, boosting the use of renewable power on the electric grid that will power one of its new data centers. Under a twenty year agreement with the local service provider, Google’s long-term goal of running entirely on renewable energy is growing closer and closer.

Advocating carbon neutrality in every aspect of its internal affairs, Google is constantly searching for ways to ensure that it never consumes excessive gas. Google has shuttles that run on biodiesel and encourages its employees to ride into work on bikes, skateboards, and scooters.

Since 2007, Google has attempted to keep its operations carbon neutral. They’ve done it by reducing energy use, incorporating renewable energy, and offsetting carbon emissions. By adopting unconventional techniques for effectively lowering its environmental impact, the company has become a model for implementing green technology in a fiscally-efficient manner.

Unfortunately, no company is completely perfect in lowering carbon emissions. Google works hard to cut energy use and power up with renewable resources whenever possible, but the company is realistic in examining its operations. Instead of trying to purge carbon from its systems, Google invests in “off-setting” its carbon emissions by investing in green initiatives that would not have the funding to survive otherwise.

What do you think of Google’s long-term goal for lowering carbon emissions? Do you believe that the company is only innovating in the field of green technology for financial reasons? Sound off in the comments below.