The 10 Biggest Google Stories Of 2012

Master Of The Universe

Google is in everything.

From hardware and software to storage and the cloud, Google thinks it can lead in virtually any technology space it selects. So it's no accident that the top Google stories of the year range far and wide.

Continue on and check out the top Google news stories of 2012.

10. Google Closes Motorola Mobility Deal

After months of legal wrangling, Google in May officially acquired handset maker Motorola Mobility in a $12.5 billion deal, gaining approval of European and U.S. antitrust authorities in February.

Google said the acquisition will give it rights to Motorola's IP portfolio and will broaden Google's footprint in the booming mobile market.

9. Google's Patent Wars Go On

Google engaged in unending patent wars with rival tech giants throughout 2012 as it strove to strengthen its intellectual property portfolio and bolster its position in lawsuits, especially from Oracle, Apple and Microsoft, as they targeted Google's Android mobile operating system.

The company started out the year by buying 200 patents from IBM that covered technology areas from video conferencing to Javascript widgets to email administration.

Google's Motorola Mobility unit sued Apple in August before the U.S. International Trade Commission, citing that Apple allegedly infringed on Motorola patents in products such as the iPad, the iPhone and Mac computers. However, Motorola dropped the suit in November, reserving the right to refile its claims.

In December, Google joined with erstwhile rival Apple to bid more than $500 million for 1,100 for offer Kodak patents.

8. Google BigQuery Adds Features To Handle Big Data

Google made sure its BigQuery data analytics software could compete in the fast-moving market to handle real-time analytics in the cloud.

In August, the company offered new features for BigQuery, including Batch Queries to address the need for less time-sensitive data requests and Connector for Excel to execute data queries with Microsoft Excel.

7. Google Goes For A Drive

Google launched in April its storage and file synchronization service, Google Drive, which housed Google Apps, the company's suite of productivity apps.

Google Drive with Gmail allows users to share content via links embedded in email. Drive also integrates with Google's cloud collaboration and communication suite.

In late November, Google made it easier to share large files, allowing users to insert files up to 10 GB from Drive directly into an email without leaving their Gmail account.

6. Google Pushes Chromebooks

Google hung tough with the marketing of its Chromebook through several iterations in 2012. In May, Google and Samsung jointly announced a second-generation Chromebook laptop and a Chromebox desktop, with prices starting at $399. The cloud-based Series 5 Chromebook and Series 3 Chromebox came with cloud storage capabilities.

In late June, Google said it was making Chromebooks available at Best Buy. In October, it unveiled a $249, 11.6-inch version.

In November, in time for the holiday season, and giving Google partners something for their Christmas stockings, Google released a $199, 11.6-inch Chromebook, made by Acer, called the Acer 7 Chromebook.

5. Google Vies With Amazon To Cut Storage Prices

Storage in the cloud was a major story in 2012 as businesses looked to put their data off-premise, and many vendors, including Box, Microsoft SkyDrive, Dropbox and Amazon Simple Storage vied for market share.

Google had its own player in the market, Cloud Storage, and after Amazon announced a 25 percent price cut in late November, Google trumped Amazon by announcing two storage price reductions in one week totaling 30 percent.

Stay tuned because it looks like the cloud market has not bottomed out yet.

4. Google Apps, Google Talk, Go Down

Google, like every other cloud services provider, said it takes every measure possible to keep its service up and running. But, like the others, it suffered from outages in 2012.

Google was victimized on Oct. 26, when Google App Engine, the platform for developing and hosting Web applications in Google-managed data centers, lost service for about four hours, suffering slowness and errors. As a result, 50 percent of requests to the App Engine failed.

Google said no data was lost and application behavior was restored, and that the company will bolster its network service to fight traffic latency.

Google Talk, the chat service used by Google Gmail customers, went down for almost five hours on July 27.

3. Google Nexus Tablets Make A Mark

Google entered the tablet market in October, unleashing Android-based devices that run on its updated operating system, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, and included a new Nexus 10 tablet.

Nexus 10 boasts a 10.55-inch display with a 2,560-by-1,600 (300ppi) pixel resolution, delivering more than 400 million pixels, and the updated Nexus 7 tablet offers 16 GB of storage at $199 and 32 GB of storage for $249.

The Nexus 7 in particular looks to be a hit, with expectations that it will exceed 1 million units in December, according to DigiTimes.

2. Google Competes As Cloud Infrastructure Provider

Google in June unveiled its Compute Engine, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service that places it in competition with Rackspace, Amazon Web Services and other service providers that help businesses migrate their IT resources to the cloud.

The move was a natural play for Google, with data centers in place all over the world and a portfolio of cloud-based applications.

A key part of the cloud-based model is Google App Engine, a platform as a service to develop and host Web applications, which came out of preview in September 2011. Google Compute Engine is an extension of App Engine, he said.

Google partners have used other public cloud providers such as Amazon and Rackspace, but some said they would begin to shift workloads to Google Compute Engine.

1. Google Cloud Services Partner Program

In late July, Google unveiled its Cloud Platform Partner Program, offering partners tools, training and resources to provide cloud services through Google's infrastructure.

Partners can access tech resources such as Compute Engine to configure and manage applications running on Google's infrastructure; Google BigQuery to import and analyze data; and Google Cloud Storage for archiving, backup and recovery, and primary storage solutions. The platform also includes service partners offering consulting and implementation of Google Cloud products such as Google App Engine, Mobile Apps and Social Apps.

"We've had a lot of businesses hearing about cloud computing and sitting on the sidelines and saying, 'I don't want to be locked out of the cloud," said David Cope, chief marketing officer of CliQr Technologies, a Mountain View, Calif.-based cloud application management company. "For us as a manager of cloud platforms, this program will allow us to move them into the cloud with Google."