Year in review: Google's highs and lows in 2022
With less than a handful of days left for this year's end, it's time to take a look at another of our favorite companies' 2022. Our protagonist today is Google. From releasing some new products to ending old ones, Google held its ground in what was a turbulent year for tech companies. Let's recap Google's major highs and lows in 2022.
Google announced shut down of Stadia cloud gaming service
Let's first talk about Google Stadia. This year will be synonymous with Google's failure to make the most out of Stadia, its cloud gaming service. Ever since it was launched, naysayers have predicted Stadia's end, mainly because of Google's track record. Per the company, Stadia failed to generate the traction it expected, which again is Google's fault.
Google I/O 2022 had some major hardware and software announcements
Google's year was headlined by the I/O 2022 event. The event saw the company making some major hardware announcements, including Pixel 6a, Pixel Buds Pro, Pixel Tablet, and the much-anticipated Pixel Watch. We also got a detailed look at Android 13. The event revealed some of the things the company is working on, including its AR glasses.
Pixel 6a was a watered-down Pixel 6, 6 Pro
The Pixel 6a was Google's first smartphone this year. A watered-down version of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, it is the most affordable of the Pixel 6 series. Pixel 6a was in no way a highlight of Google's year. It was a precursor to what was to come next - the Pixel 7 series.
Pixel 7 series is Google's best to date
The Pixel 7 series is Google's best set of Pixel devices to date. The company not only took care of the issues that plagued the Pixel 6 series but also made everything better. The flagship Pixel 7 Pro was arguably one of the best smartphones of this year. For the first time, Google managed to find a balance between software and hardware efficiency.
Pixel Watch sets up a good foundation for Google
Any discussion about Google's hardware accomplishments won't be complete without talking about the first-ever Pixel Watch. The company's first foray into smartwatches was successful to a certain extent. The battery was a huge letdown, but Pixel Watch sets up a solid foundation for Google to build on and release better products. Let's hope Google learned the right lessons from Pixel Watch.
The company released Android 13 and Android 12L this year
If Android 12 was great, Google took a couple of steps further with Android 13. Material You is still the centerpiece, but it has certainly become better. The OS offers a more refined experience and is better when it comes to stability. Google also released Android 12L, a tailor-made OS for Android tablets. It is a step in the right direction for the company.
Google acquired Mandiant for $5.4 billion
This year was a turbulent one for tech companies, but that didn't stop Google from making a few acquisitions. The company first acquired Raxium, a microLED display maker, signaling its AR glasses aren't far from materialization. It then bought Twitter-backed AI avatar start-up Alter for nearly $100 million. Lastly, Google acquired publicly traded cybersecurity firm Mandiant for a whopping $5.4 billion.
The company was fined $275mn in India for anti-competitive practices
A review of Google's year isn't complete without a bunch of lawsuits and fines. The company had to settle a discrimination lawsuit against it by paying $118 million. The suit was filed by female employees. In India, Google was at the receiving end of two massive penalties amounting to $162 million and $113 million for anti-competitive practices.
Former Google engineer claimed that AI achieved sentiency
Google's 2022 was certainly made interesting by the case of the sentient AI. Blake Lemoine, an engineer who worked on Google's LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Application), claimed that the AI acquired consciousness. Although Google and AI practitioners disregarded Lemoine's claims, the news became a hot topic in tech circles. As one can expect, Google axed Lemoine and painted his claims unfounded.
What does 2023 hold for Google?
This year, we saw Google reevaluating its business model. With the economic downturn set to continue in 2023, we are expected to see similar steps from the company. There might be more shutdowns and cutdowns. There will be also new product categories, including the highly anticipated Pixel Tablet. We will also see more consolidation of its services aimed at streamlining the business model.