HomeTechnologyVirtual RealityGoogle Survived 2022 OK, But it Wasn't Always Pretty

Google Survived 2022 OK, But it Wasn’t Always Pretty

given one war in Ukraine, inflation and a chaotic one stock market, Google had a better 2022 than many tech companies. Secure, revenues may have declined and hiring may be delayedbut at least the company isn’t suffering from the catastrophes that rock tech rivals.

Google employment looks downright staid compared to working at Twitter, which new owner Elon Musk is breaking down to the bone to try and build Twitter 2.0. Facebook parent Meta laid off 11,000 employees after a risky bet on virtual reality technology. Netflix has cut staff and is scrambling to increase the number of subscribers. Amazon, which is increasingly relying on advertising rather than just e-commerce, has announced a major layoff that is reportedly set to take place thousands of jobs cut. Even Apple, who best navigated the 2022 quagmire, is struggling to keep iPhone 14 Pro models in stock.

A bad 2022 hit Google too, but it hasn’t stopped Google’s spread “environment computers” vision to integrate digital technology into every corner of our lives. The company arranges 92% of internet search trafficChrome accounts for 65% of browser usagestreams YouTube videos to 2.6 billion people per month and Google’s Android software holds 70% of the mobile operating system market.

That’s not to say it went smoothly. Google’s market muscle led to opposition from regulators, lawsuits from tech rivals and complaints from employees. But the company continued with its own ambitions, launching products and services such as Multiple search, YouTube Shorts and the new Pixel watchfrom Google Android alternative to Apple smartwatch dominance.

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Pixel Watch boosts Google’s Android ecosystem

Pixel Watch from Google.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

The Pixel Watch, which went on sale in October for $349, offers Android fans a better alternative for fitness tracking and communication. Wear OSGoogle’s smartwatch software, had languished until Samsung embraced it in 2021 with the Galaxy Watch 4 and this year Galaxy Watch 5. But while some Galaxy Watch health features only work with Galaxy phones, the Pixel Watch works with any modern Android phone.

Google’s Apple Watch rival is helping the company move closer to ecosystem parity. The search giant appears to have higher expectations for its hardware this year, with it reportedly posting its largest order ever for the launch of the Pixel 7 with another major device next year.

Keep up to date with the Pixel tablet in 2023 that will double as a Google Home as well maybe a Pixel Fold phone to fight against Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4.

YouTube Shorts vs. TikTok and other product developments

Gen Z watches TikTok more often than Google for certain searches, such as where to eat or what to do in Portland. Google has noticed and will start integrate more short videos into Google Search.

Launched in 2020, YouTube Shorts is proud now 1.5 billion viewers per month thanks to the notoriety in the YouTube app. TikTok reported 1 billion active monthly users last year.

With other product developments:

Goodbye, Google Stadia

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Google Stadia controller is used with phone holder.

Google/Screenshot by CNET

Not all products did so well.

With economic problems, Google parent Alphabet chose to focus on areas it deems strongest and cut elsewhere. Therefore, three years later launching Stadia in 2019the company canceled its video game streaming service, which was trying to do for games what Netflix did for video.

Stadia will expire in early 2023and Google will refund all purchases.

Fines, lawsuits and government surveillance

Regulators made 2022 expensive for Google. The search giant, along with Meta, was fined 150 million and 90 million euros ($157 million and $94 million), respectively. in France through user tracking. While the war raged in Ukraine, Russian courts fined Google $365 million for not removing prohibited content related to the conflict. And the company agreed to one $391.5 million settlement with attorneys general for its location tracking practices. But these punishments pale in comparison to a potential 4.1 billion euro fine in Europe for antitrust violations by allegedly forcing Android manufacturers and mobile network operators to include Google’s suite of apps on their phones.

Google’s revenue in 2021 from $257 billion not even billions of dollars in fines. Regulators could push harder by demanding changes to search engines’ core business.

Australia, sympathetic to publisher complaints about Google, has passed a law making the search giant and Meta pay content publishers. Canada introduced similar legislation earlier this year, citing the closure of 450 media outlets between 2008 and 2021 and the rise of misinformation. However, the company gave publishers a boost by redesigning the homepage elevate more local news.

Some tech companies weren’t happy with Google’s strength either. Fortnite’s lawsuit over Android’s Play Store for Android apps showed that Google was paying other companies not to create rival app stores. Spotify and Tinder parent Match Group sued Google about the Play Store payment requirements in March. Apparently the Play Store now allows both Spotify and Bumble will use their own payment systemspay significantly lower fees.

Google versus its employees

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Google employee protest in 2019.

James Martin/CNET

The benefits of a ‘Googler’ have lost some of their luster in 2022. However, employees receive free meals, sleeping quarters and access to the gym in addition to their salary not necessarily bidets in the bathrooms. The annual “Googlegeist” survey showed a 12 percentage point drop in the number of workers who said their wages were competitive. Layoffs could be in the offing, with the company reportedly identifying the bottom 6% of artists in a possible prelude to a cut of about 10,000 workers.

Even without layoffs, there were problems. One employee, Ariel Koren, a marketing manager for Google’s educational products division, became a vocal opponent from Google reportedly sold AI tools to Israel. She said Google retaliated against her by abruptly forcing her to move to Brazil or lose her job.

Google also fired an AI researcher who questioned the company’s use of AI to make computer chips. Ariel Curley, a black worker, sued Google for having a “racially biased corporate culture”. Google too settled with six engineers it reportedly fired in retaliation for workplace activism.

In 2023, Google could step up its efforts to cope with economic problems and have a harder time milking its advertising cash cows. But everyone from CEO Sundar Pichai to date can take some solace in not being able to handle rivals’ even bigger problems.

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