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A slice of Google: looking back on 2018

December 21st, 2018

If I had to summarize 2018 in one word … it would probably be “flossing” (kids, am I doing this right?). But let’s put the dance moves aside for a minute. As my dentist continually reminds me, it’s easy to miss stuff when you don’t take enough time to look in the mirror, really focus, and … floss. No, reflect! Reflect. So while 2018 is still (minty) fresh in our minds, we’re taking a moment to take another look at some things you may have missed from us this year:

1. AI is behind many products at Google, but this year it created some new beats, took a shot with the NCAA during March Madness, and took us on a scavenger hunt to find emoji. But what about those of us who aren’t DJs or data scientists? There are lots of ways you’re already encountering AI in your daily life.

2. We met many a Googler this year—from interns to our resident productivity expert to the couple behind Chromecast—who gave us an inside look into what they do and how they do it. We went back in time to learn about Google execs’ first summer jobs, and saw a glimpse of the future that one Googler imagines in her children’s book: “propelling girls in the direction of exploring coding and engineering.”

3. Though we spent lots of time with Googlers in the wild, we also had some fun with animals during the Year of the Dog. A pack of adorable Akita dogs made their debut on Street View, a farm in the Netherlands is using TensorFlow to track the health of its cows, and a flock of egrets landed at the Googleplex for the summer.

“Dog View” from Akita-inu
See more of these snow pups on Street View.

4.We continued our commitment to empowering small businesses around the world, whether they were veteran-run yoga studios andcraft breweries or job-posting apps in Spain. And we also launched the .page top-level domain for businesses to showcase their work.

5. Through products like Street View, VR and Arts and Culture, we took you on a kayaking trip with blind veterans through the Grand Canyon, a frigid arctic expedition to Canada’s high north, and a crab migration in the “Australian Galapagos.” We don’t take the word “magical” lightly around here, but when you’re taking people to Disney parks and the world of Harry Potter, well … if the slipper fits…

A slice of Google: looking back on 2018
In Canada’s high north, don’t forget your gloves.

6.We heard from a daring climber and Lin-Manuel Miranda about places that are important to them, and traveled around the world with Waldo—stopping along the way at a wedding and the Google science fair.

7. We turned 20 this year! During our month-long celebration, we went back to our roots in the garage, recalled oodles of Doodles through history, and examined how our mission applies to the next billion users. And as icing on the (birthday) cake, we put together some highlights from two decades of Google history.

Explore Google’s original garage with Street View
Going back to the garage where it all began.

8. We got organized, and made a few lists of different ways to use our products, whether you’re taking food pics like a pro with your Pixel or consulting Google Maps to plan your travels. The list of I/O announcements made it to 100, but for our products with a billion users, we went straight to the source.

9. We believe that technology creates more opportunities for those who might not have access to it—and this year, we saw proof of this from sock sellers, creative coders and organizations like AI4ALL. Whether in Singapore or in our own Northern California backyard, we’re excited to introduce even more people to coding in 2019.

Girl Scouts robotics
Girl scouts at a robotic competition, coached by Googlers

10. Any year has its ups and downs, but through it all, were heartened by the stories of people using our products in inspiring ways. Two of those stories come from Robbie Iveyand Tania Finlayson, people who aren’t defined by their disabilities—instead, they’re using Google products to live a more independent life. Another story hits close to home—a Googler helped a refugee family using Google Translate, and make some lifelong friends in the process.

Ok, that was a lot of sweet stuff. Now it’s really time for the dentist.