2015 was a huge year for Google with a lot of experiments finally becoming fruitful, while others got the short end of the straw. The company announced a massive restructuring as well.
2016 is shaping up nicely for the big G – self driving cars, more Android Wear, more Google Photos features, and why not, a plethora of pure Android smartphones.
But what were the biggest things for the company in 2015? The hits that made us all praise our mighty search overlord, and, of course, the WTF moments that just let us wondering if Google is a demented 12 year old with a ton of cash.
Check the highlights for this year below.
Google in 2015: Mistakes, Hits, and WTF Moments
Chromecast is finally popular
When it launched back in 2013, the consensus was that Chromecast is just a waste of money. Two years later, the cheap streaming video dongle has sold more than 20 million units world-wide. With a ton of new awesome features, and a massive app selection, 2015 proved to be immensely kind to Chromecast.
Android Wear takes a punch to the gut
Unfortunately, Android Wear didn’t sold as much as Google wanted, but the company is still keeping it. With iOS support, better hardware, and a lot of progress in standalone functionality, Android Wear still didn’t manage to spread to consumers. In November, Canalys released a report noting that smartwatch vendors barely shipped 300,000 units in the previous quarter. Compared with the staggering 7 million Apple Watch units, the loss is demoralizing, to say the least.
Android needs to crack the smartwatch recipe, and fast. Hopefully, we’ll see better Android Wear in 2016.
Google Photos is a beast
Google Photos was a doomed feature solely because it was coupled with Google+. Fortunately, someone with a keen eye said enough is enough. The new Google Photos is one of the best services for storing and organizing pictures, and if you allow the big G to compress your photos, you have unlimited free storage.
Self driving cars
Moving deep into what we thought was only possible in science fiction tales, Google is helming the world into a new automation era. Their self driving cars have been roaming around Mountain View and Austin since the summer. They are capped at 25 miles per hour, and the company is required by law to have a human inside the car who is capable of taking control if something goes terribly wrong. So far so good, nothing horrible has happened, and all of the accidents that Google’s self driving cars were involved in proved to be caused by other people.
The road to commercialization is riddled with a ton of holes, and the auto industry is keeping a very close eye on the whole situation. For certain we’ll see more talk about self driving cars in 2016.
G is for Alphabet?
No silly, A is for Alphabet, and G is for confusing. The strangest piece of news we’ve heard this year, coming from Google, is the change from being top dog to just a subsidiary. Google is now controlled by Alphabet.
We can’t really put our finger on the whys of the restructuring, but there’s a plan, I’m most certain there is. We’ll see in 2016 how this weird experiment will turn into a fully-fledged business.
Android and Stagefright
Shattering the whole world’s trust, researchers have surfaced that Android is vulnerable to Stagefright. One of the biggest mistakes of the year for Google. Stagefright is a vulnerability, which allows hackers to remotely take control of said device with an innocent MMS. The company patched it up, but with each new update there’s going to be a vulnerability, and at the rate big telecom companies are rolling them out, this issue will continue to be a plague.
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