This year’s Doodle for Google winner, Sophie Araque-Liu of Florida, called her illustration “Not Alone,” themed around leaning on your support system when you need help. And as we started to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we took more opportunities to come together — both around the world and at Google. (Even our summer interns went hybrid!) Here’s a look at what Google was up to this year.
New ways to get things done in Search and Maps
This year, we focused on making Search more natural and intuitive. For example, multisearch near me is a new way to search using images and text at the same time, helping you snap a picture or take a screenshot or an item or even a dish — and then find it nearby instantly. We also announced tools to make shopping easier and ways to find and book with local health care providers. Plus, we launched a new look for Google News, bringing you more local coverage. We also made it easier for you to check the facts and find high-quality information online.
We showcased updates that make Maps look and feel more like the real world, including an immersive view to give a whole new glimpse at global landmarks. And this year Street View turned 15, Maps added new features to help plan your next adventure — all while saving money on tolls. We also announced a new LGBTQ+ owned attribute that is available on Search and Maps for business owners in the U.S.
New Pixel, Nest and Fitbit devices
We unveiled our latest hardware products at our annual Made by Google event, including Google’s first full-featured premium smartwatch, the Google Pixel Watch. The watch goes perfectly with the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, which we revealed alongside a new Nest doorbell and Wi-Fi and a refreshed Google Home app.
The full Fitbit lineup, including the Google Pixel watch and the Premium membership.
New Android updates, plus easy ways to switch
We announced new ways for your devices to easily work well together thanks to Android 13 and other updates. And our Messages app got even better — so much so that you might want to ask Apple to #GetTheMessage and adopt RCS instead of SMS. Sound good? Luckily we made it easier than ever to switch to Android.
Helpful updates from other Google products
Google Play and Drive turned 10 and Chrome browser and Chrome OS each released their 100th major update. Meanwhile, Workspace users saw new changes with smart canvas, including templates and a pageless format. We also unveiled ways you can have more natural conversations with Google Assistant. And we shared how we’re using technology to serve everyone, including improving skin tone representation in photos. Meanwhile, Google Assistant updates can make it easier to get things done, faster, across all devices.
Research and updates powered by AI
AI powers many Google products you use every day. This year we shared how artificial intelligence can scale helpful technologies worldwide, in fields ranging breast cancer research and maternal health to climate change. It also helps us create a more helpful Chrome browser, formulate great search results and add new languages to Google Translate. (And on a fun note, it can also generate an image of a puppy hatching out of an egg.)
AI-generated images using Imagen and Parti
Updates to keep you safe online
As always, privacy and security were top of mind this year. We created a new Search tool to help control your online presence, and rolled out new options for removing your personally identifiable information from Search. Our Privacy Sandbox came to Android, and we updated our password manager so everyone can take steps to stay safe online.
Efforts to help Ukraine
When war broke out in Ukraine, all sides of the company stepped up to help. Google.org provided philanthropic support, we boosted our security protections and added updates to Search and Maps. And throughout the year, we have provided ongoing support for refugees and displaced people both through our products and through partnerships with initiatives like Welcome.US.
Ways to fight the climate crisis
We kept the planet in mind through all our work this year — down to the physical spaces where
Googlers work. Our newly opened Bay View campus in California is all-electric and water-positive, with the largest geothermal installation in North America (and our largest electric kitchen, too). We provided support for startups tackling climate change, and helped you make sustainable choices when buying (and repairing) your Pixel phone.
Support for people and communities worldwide
We announced a new Google Career Certificates Fund to prepare students for careers of the future, plus a continued partnership with Goodwill for skills trainings. Also, we announced support to bring computer science education to 11 million students across the U.S., and plans to invest $9.5 billion in our offices and data centers in the United States. And we announced the first 50 recipients of the Latino Founders Fund to lend our support to the Latino startup community.
For this year’s Teacher Appreciation Week, we offered awards to every State Teacher of the Year (on top of helpful new Classroom features for all teachers), and we also partnered with food banks to deliver 50 million meals to people in need. It’s all part of the $2 billion we’ve given to nonprofits since 2017.
In case you missed it
Despite the year’s challenges, we also had some fun. From the Googler who taught his dog to “talk” to the Googler who calculated 100 trillion digits of pi, from 13 surprising Street View images to 12 fun facts about Google Doodles, we took you behind the scenes of your favorite products and the people who make them. Plus, we published lots of tips and tricks to make the most of Google products, whether it was organizing your Gmail inbox and Chrome tabs, planning a vacation or using Google Scholar.
For a trip down memory lane, check out last year’s roundup of everything we announced in 2021.
Credit: Megan Friedman, Managing Editor, The Keyword, Google