Short Bytes: Google is a titan in the technology industry. Google has contributed to nearly every front of technology, and, since the Alphabet restructuring, has become the single most valuable company in the world. Google has also made some notable contributions to the open source community in the form of Android, Chromium OS, Go, Material Design Icons etc.
Top 10 Google Open Source Projects
As of Google I/O 2015, there were 1.4 billion devices connected to the internet running Android. This means that Android is the most popular operating system in the world, even outranking Windows. This is largely due to the fact that Android is free for manufacturers to provide on devices, meaning the devices can be much cheaper because there is no licensing fee for the operating system. This gave Google a massive upper hand in developing markets, now, as a result, Android has been adopted by hundreds of millions of people around the world. For that, Android tops our list of Google open source projects.
Most people are familiar with the Chrome browser, but it’s much lesser known that Chrome is based on an open source project known as Chromium. Chromium is available for download just like Chrome, and it’s a very good browser, too. All that Chromium is missing in comparison to Chrome is a few proprietary components that most people won’t even miss.
Much like Chrome and Chromium, Chrome OS has an open source base called Chromium OS. Chromium OS is a Linux-based operating system designed for ultra-portable, always-connected devices. Chromium OS is based on the Gentoo Linux distribution and is known for being very minimalistic and very secure. Barely anything more than the Chromium browser sits atop the Chromium OS making for a very lightweight system.
AngularJS is a framework for web application front-ends, that aims to simplify the developmental challenges of single-page websites and web applications. While AngularJS is primarily maintained by Google, it has spawned a community of individuals and corporations that assist in its maintenance and development.
Created in 2007 and introduced in 2009, Go is a programming language meant to relieve some of the difficulties of C family languages while providing as much flexibility as possible. The Go philosophy is to sacrifice bells and whistles for simplicity, and while there is much controversy about which features have been omitted from the language, the authors argue that this is central to Go’s success as a language. The Go toolchain and standard library are available on all major platforms such as Windows, macOS, Linux, as well as various BSD family operating systems and UNIX variants.
Material Design Icons:
Google has very many projects hosted on GitHub and the Material Design Icons repository is by far one of their most popular. When Google introduced Material Design into the Android ecosystem, they not only provided a framework for producing aesthetically coherent applications, they provided assets and resources to enrich the user experience that much more. The Material Design Icons provide hundreds of icons that are sure to help make your app look clean and professional with a unified visage.
Currently, Google has two operating systems to maintain, Android and ChromeOS. Despite that, Google has decided to pioneer a new operating system that is neither Linux nor UNIX based. Based on the Little Kernel, Fuchsia OS is still a mystery to us. With limited information, we can only speculate about the future of Fuchsia. There is a long road ahead of Fuchsia before it can contend with contemporary operating systems, but if Google has shown us anything, it’s that they are most capable.
Pushing data between processes, whether over a network or on the local machine, can pose some pretty big hurdles, especially when the sending and receiving programs are written in different languages. Foreign data types can be troublesome to convert on the fly. This is where languages like XML and JSON shine. Protocol Buffers is a data serialization protocol that’s widely used at Google for communications of all kinds. Protocol Buffers acts like a middleman between the different applications and assists by transporting the data in a temporary format that can be transmuted between the foreign data type and the native data type much easier. Protocol Buffers is another of Google’s projects that is receiving a lot of attention on GitHub.
Google Web Toolkit:
Google Web Toolkit an open source development toolkit that’s used for creating and optimizing intricate browser-based applications. Internally, it’s used by many Google products, including Google AdWords.
Bonus — Google’s contributions to Linux
Google has built its empire on Linux systems. Because of Google’s reliance on Linux, they’ve contributed countless bug fixes and patches to the Linux kernel over the years. In addition, as the result of the Android project, Google has been instrumental in the development of the Linux kernel as a mobile operating system. Android brought the advent of ultra mobile computing to Linux, and with it came the contributions necessary to allow for all these new devices to work. Google’s direct contributions to the Linux kernel were nothing short of admirable, but Google inspired others to contribute on a scale that had not been seen before the smartphone market was tapped into.
Between Google’s firsthand contributions to the Linux kernel and the cascading efforts inspired by Android, Google has helped put Android, an open source operating system, into the hands of hundreds of millions of people. That just may be the biggest contribution to open source software since the formation of the Free Software Foundation.
Do the fossBytes readers have anything to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.
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