As the year 2016 races to a close, we look at 7 of Google's coolest open source projects released this year.

With open source software, Google gets an opportunity to build innovative things efficiently and quickly without having to go through the pain of reinventing the wheel altogether. It is because of them that they're able to focus their genius on solving new problems.

Till date, the technology giant has released some 20-million lines open source code, including projects.

Here are top 7 that caught our attention this year:

1) Vendor Security Assessment Questionnaire (VSAQ)

Since Google has a towering task of assessing the security of almost thousands of vendors every year, it decided to provide itself a helping hand by developing a process that automated a huge chunk of the initial information-gathering required in the process through VSAQ. Since majority of vendors founded the questionnaires to be extremely flexible and intuitive, Google decided to share them with the world.

Google's Vendor Security Assessment Questionnaire's framework is inclusive of four extensible questionnaire templates that covers infrastructure, physical and data center security, web applications, and privacy programs.

2) Magenta

Ever thought of making use of machine learning to create compelling music and art? Well, that's the very line of thought that inspired this TensorFlow-based project from the brainiacs at Google Brain team.

Magenta aims to make concrete advancements to the state of the art in machine intelligence for art and music generation, and through this build a rich, talented collaborative community of coders, machine-learning researchers and artists.

3) Science Journal

The Smartphones in the market currently are called smart for a reason. Other than the distinct apps and fast operating systems, they also come power packed sensors that can educate us tremendously about the various interesting things happening in the world that we live in. Google launched Science Journal with an aim of helping educators, students, and citizen scientists to tap into the great potential of those sensors.

4) Seesaw

A Linux Virtual Server-based load-balancing platform developed by the tech giant's very own site reliability engineers, Seesaw took birth to tackle one of Google's own problem.

For a long time, Google was scouting for a way through which it could handle traffic for unicast and anycast VIPs, perform adequate health checks against the backends, and perform load balancing with NAT and DSR (also known as DR). Above all, they were looking for a platform that could ease management, including the automated deployment of configuration changes. This is why Seesaw came into existence.

5) Cartographer

A library for real-time simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) in 2D and 3D with support of Robot Operating System, Cartographer maps surroundings and computes positioning by combining data from a variety of sensors. This is one of the important elements in UAVs, autonomous cars, and robotics.

Cartographer has the potential of building globally consistent maps in real-time across a broad range of sensor configurations common in academia and industry. With Cartographer, Google aims to advance and democratise SLAM as a technology.

6) Omnitone

Virtual reality (VR) can't be as immersive as it is today without the presence of spatial audio. When spatial audio is brought to the web, the browser can be completely transformed into a complete VR media player with an incredible reach and engagement. This is what inspired Google's Chrome WebAudio team to create and release the Omnitone project, an open source spatial audio renderer with the cross-browser support. Google is quite confident that with emerging web-based Virtual Reality projects like WebVR, Omnitone’s audio spatialisation will be playing a very critical role in providing a more immersive VR experience on the web.

7) OpenThread

Released by Nest, OpenThread is a complete open-source implementation of the Thread networking protocol for connected devices found at home. This is considered very crucial because of the currently visible fragmentation seen in this particular space.

With this, Nest aims to make the technology being used in Nest products more broadly available to developers so as to accelerate the development of products for the connected home.

OpenThread development is being openly supported by Qualcomm, ARM, Texas Instruments, Microsoft, and several other major vendors.


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