Google Survived 2022 OK, but It Wasn't Always Pretty
Google finally unveiled the much-anticipated Pixel Watch but said goodbye to its Stadia streaming game service.
Imad KhanSenior Reporter
Imad is a senior reporter covering Google and internet culture. Hailing from Texas, Imad started his journalism career in 2013 and has amassed bylines with The New York Times, The Washington Post, ESPN, Tom's Guide and Wired, among others.
The Pixel Watch, which went on sale in October for $349, gives Android fans a better alternative for tracking fitness and communications. Wear OS, Google's smartwatch software, had languished until Samsung embraced it in 2021 with the Galaxy Watch 4 and this year's Galaxy Watch 5. But while some Galaxy Watch health features only work with Galaxy phones, the Pixel Watch works with any modern Android phone.
Google's Apple Watch rival helps bring the company closer to ecosystem parity. The search giant seems to have higher hopes for its hardware this year, with it reportedly placing its largest ever order for the Pixel 7 launch with another major device landing next year.
Google search, the company added a new ability called Multisearch. It allows you to combine photos and text into a single search query, for example a shot of an unknown flower and the text "care instructions."
Adios, Google Stadia
Not all products did so well.
With economic troubles, Google parent Alphabet chose to focus on areas it deems strongest and cut elsewhere. That's why, three years after launching Stadia in 2019, the company canceled the video game streaming service, which tried to do for games what Netflix did for video.
The perks of being a "Googler" lost some luster in 2022. Employees get free meals, nap rooms and gym access, along with their salaries, though not necessarily bidets in the bathrooms. The annual "Googlegeist" survey showed a drop of 12 percentage points in the number of employees who said their pay is competitive. Layoffs might be in the offing, with the company reportedly identifying the bottom 6% of performers in a potential prelude to a cut of about 10,000 employees.
Even without layoffs, there was trouble. One employee, Ariel Koren, a marketing manager for Google's educational products arm, became a vocal opponent of Google reportedly selling AI tools to Israeli. She said Google retaliated against her by abruptly forcing her to move to Brazil or else lose her job.
In 2023, Google could hunker down more to cope with economic troubles and a harder time milking its advertising cash cows. But everyone from CEO Sundar Pichai on down can take some comfort they're not coping with rivals' even bigger problems.