The Things Google Did in 2010 (The Fourth Quarter)

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We’re looking at the things Google has done over the course of the year. For the first quarter, read this article. Then find the second quarter here and the third quarter here. Now we’re on to the fourth quarter. 

Allow me to include the disclaimer from the previous posts: I have not included every single Google-related story of the year. That would require a book (and a rather large one I believe) rather than an article. I’ve omitted most of the legal stories and rumors (both of which there have been many in 2010), and tried to stick mostly with actual releases, features, acquisitions, and happenings. Even still, I’m sure there are plenty of things that didn’t find their way into the article(s). Please feel free to add more in the comments. All of that said, it’s been a huge year for Google, even just looking at the items included. 

October

In October, Google acquired BlindType for Android text input. Android got a Skype app and iPhone users got a way to search Google by taking pictures (Google Goggles). Google started testing a feature that brought Twitter into Google News, introduced a spotlight video section on Google News, announced it would disconnect GOOG-411, and started testing self-driving cars.

Google’s Marissa Mayer took over some new responsibilities at the company (including local) and Google’s partnership with NBC Universal on TV ads dissolved. Google launched an in-page analytics feature, connected the search appliance to the cloud, and major TV networks blocked their content from Google TV. Google implemented stricter internal privacy regulations, put businesses’ interiors on Google Places, donated $5 million to support digital journalism, and introduced Place Search. Also, YouTube crossed a billion subscriptions and launched a tool to help itself get a faster second billion.

November

In November, Google launched a resource to prepare retailers for the holidays, partnered with the ad council on teen Internet safety, mixed Promoted Tweets into realtime results, launched Google Instant for iPhone and Android devices, unveiled a new tool for a faster web, offered free in-flight Wi-Fi for the holidays, committed to more huge acquisitions, launched an app for Windows Phone 7, unveiled Instant Previews, and initiated the rollout of the new AdSense interface.

DISH Network began offering Google TV to customers for $179, Google said it was cracking down on link spam, and major advertisers signed on for a Google Goggles test. Google launched Hotpot, Google Voice for the iPhone, mobile editing for Google Docs, made a deal with France’s biggest publisher, made a toolbar deal with AVG, and greatly expanded Google Apps to include most of Google’s services. 

Google Cloud Connect was released, Google released meta tags to get proper credit to journalists, Google gave $100,000 toward a bid for Alan Turing papers, and got called out in a New York Times article for ranking a business high when they were openly exploiting Google rankings while treating customers poorly. The company also launched new "click type" reports for AdWords and weaved privacy tools into holiday shopping.

December

In December, Google visualized U.S. budget data with Public Data charts, whipped up an on-the-fly algorithm change to beat "bad businesses", released a Google Reader Android app, put tons of new satellite data online with Google Earth Engine, announced changes to copyright handling, acquired Phonetic Arts, and discussed local search ranking factors

Google Cloud Picker was discovered prematurely, and Google acquired Widevine Technologies. Google turned your friends into sitelinks for some queries, launched its eBookstore, officially debuted Gingerbread, announced that Google Wave would live on as Apache Wave, and announced tools and resources to help businesses go global. 

Then Google had their big Chrome event, where they showed off Google Instant for Chrome (and some other new Chrome items), launched the Chrome Web Store, and unveiled the much-anticipated Chrome OS, while starting a pilot program for it. 

Google released the end-of-year Zeitgeist, launched Message Continuity, launched Instant for mobile globally, released priority inbox for Android, let people send calls from Santa with Google Voice, brought the desktop version of Docs to the iPad, launched Latitude for iPhone, and added a search filter for reading level.  Google let advertisers use seller ratings extensions in mobile ads, released the Gmail app in 44 new languages, launched personalized voice recognition, launched Google Voice or the iPad and iPod Touch, released the Nexus S phone, renewed its search advertising deal with MySpace, and gave users a new YouTube homepage to try out. 

Google released a new 3D version of Maps for Android and offline functionality for it, a follow button for Google News, Shared Spaces, and YouTube Trends. Then they sent Android into near-space.

This is the fourth part in a four-part series. Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

What is your favorite thing that Google did in 2010? Least favorite? Comment here.



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