Being one of the most important years for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), 2012 brought the web searching giant a massive growth in its products and services as the company continued to position itself in various cutting edge markets through out the year.

Google 2012

With plenty to celebrate this year, from smartphones to self-driving cars and browsers, email, social networking, and augmented-reality glasses, the search-engine giant, Google, continued to evolve its presence across the Web and mobile world. Here’s a glimpse of what happened at Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) in the year 2012.

Smartphones and Tablets:

  • Google joined hands with smart phone manufacturer LG for its Nexus smartphones to launch Nexus 4 at a market competitive price. The contract free version of the smartphone was out in the market at $299 and $349 with 8 gigabytes and 16 gigabytes of storage respectively. Nexus 4 is expected to hit the market is January 2013
  • Google launched a 7-inch mid range tablet Nexus 7, in October, in an association with Asus. The device was launched earlier this year and is now available in the market.
  • Google rolled out a new version of its Android OS 4.2 in July, which came as a minor update to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The new update helps to provide more personalized and contextual information to users when they need it.
  • Google also launched a 10 inch tablet, Nexus 10, in association with Samsung. The new tablet runs on Android 4.2 and includes the latest version of Google Now.

According to figures, more than 500 million Android tablets and smartphones have been activated to date.

 Cloud Based Service and Smart Features:

Google drive, Google’s long awaited cloud-based storage service was a product of the year 2012 as well. Google launched this service to help users place all their digital data at one place. The new cloud based storage service enables users to upload and access all their files, including videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs and much more.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) introduced a new feature this year in the form of Google Now, this app is designed to give users any information they need at the right time.  An extension of Android’s native Google Search application, Google Now tells you today’s weather before you start your day, how much traffic to expect before you leave for work, when the next train will arrive as you’re standing on the platform, or your favorite team’s score while they’re playing.

Knowledge Graph is another Google’s 2012 products, designed  to enhance Google search by drawing graphs from Google-built database of more than 500 million people, places and commonly requested things.

Stepping into the social space with Google +, Google experienced an interesting growth in its users as the year passed.  Google’s latest update on the site revealed that Google + has 135 active million users, up from 100 million in September.

Augmented Reality Glass:

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) unveiled its augmented reality head-mounted display glasses that would display information in a smartphone style while the user can interact with internet via natural language voice commands. The sleep-wrap-around glasses are connected with internet to allow its user to easily interacts with others without using any hand-held device.  These glasses are a product of “Project Glass”, announced in April, which is pacing forward to becoming a mass-market product.

Acquisitions and Kill Switchs:

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) completed its biggest deal in the 14 year history of the company, by entering into a $12.5 billion acquisition of cell phone maker Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc (NYSE:MMI) for $40 per share in cash.

Other acquisitions include Meebo, Wildfire Interactive, Frommer’s,, Viewdale, Incentive Targeting and BufferBox.

Google also shut down a few of its products this year, including Slide and PhotoVine, Google Sync, Google Calendar Sync, Issue Tracker Data API, and Punchd, iGoogle, along with Google Mini, Talk Chatback and Symbian Search, AdSense for Feeds, and UK Compare Mortgages.

Controversies and Challenges Ahead:

With its new privacy policy that went into effect in March 2012, Google faced a backlash from European regulators who criticized Google for its ways of collecting and using data. The web giant has also been interrogated by antitrust regulators in Europe and the United States over its advertising and search practices.

Google was also hit with a record $22.5 million fine by the FTC in August on account of committing breaches of privacy within Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s Safari browser.

Google’s penetration of the enterprise with cloud-based email and productivity software also appears to have been put up with a potential competition by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Office 365.

With so much to celebrate at the end of a remarkable year for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), everyone is eager to see what the year 2013 has in store for the company.