2015 was a busy year for Google. The company effectively gained a parent brand with the creation of Alphabet, faced a flurry of antitrust probes in Europe, released new smartphones and Android software, and kept busy with software updates and new tools.
Google also won major new customers, but where in some areas it was praised, in others it was criticised. V3 has a rundown of the top Google stories from the year, shedding light on the company's struggles and successes in 2015.
Google SSL certificate update error affects millions of Gmail users
The expiration of an intermediate SSL certificate for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol caused a big Gmail outage for a weekend in April during which millions of people were unable to send or receive emails for several hours.
Google moved quickly to fix the problem and get Gmail up and running. It was not clear how many were affected, but Google said that a "majority" were without full Gmail services.
Major cloud services such as Google Drive and Dropbox at risk from 'man-in-the-cloud' attacks
Google Drive was among the cloud services that faced risks from ‘man-in-the-cloud' cyber attacks, according to a research paper published by Imperva.
The firm said at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas that cloud-based businesses are vulnerable to exploitation by hackers, even claiming that data can be accessed without needing usernames or passwords.
Apple Watch has nothing to fear from Google's Android Wear for iOS infiltration attempt
Google attempted to muscle in on iOS with its Android Wear app back in September, allowing iPhone users to pair their device with Android-based smartwatches.
However analysts were not so convinced, noting that Android Wear for iOS would be no threat to the Apple Watch.
“The main issue with this move is that the experience of Android Wear paired with an iPhone is quite limited compared to pairing an Android watch to an Android smartphone,” Gartner analyst Annette Zimmerman told V3.
“Some users might not know what they are missing, but there is the risk that users might be really disappointed which, of course, then has the adverse effect of what Google was trying to achieve.
Google Translate update touts real-time translation to challenge Microsoft's Skype Translator
Google moved to take on Skype Translator with an update to its Translate app that added two real-time translation tools.
The firm added speech to text translation, and Word Lens which allows iPhone and Android users with the Google Translate app to hold text up to the camera on a mobile device and receive a translation in their native language.
Microsoft hits back over HMRC switch to Google apps
Google got one over Microsoft in the UK public sector when HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC) moved from Office tools to Google apps.
But a spokesperson from the Redmond company said that Microsoft wants to "set the record straight", arguing that the claims it has been ditched in favour of Google by the HMRC were overhyped media claims, as the deal mostly related to internal collaboration tools.
Nevertheless, Google still ended up with a strong public sector client.
Google and Infineon combine for Project Soli tech for IoT and wearable markets
Google joined forces with Infineon to set up a chip technology project called Project Soli that could be used to bring radar-like tools to the wearables and Internet of Things markets, such as smartwatches and the connected car.
"Project Soli is a miniature radar system in the form factor of a small piece of silicon. Soli decouples the display and input to investigate possibilities with touchless interaction with wearables that does not require users to hold, touch or manipulate any physical interface and where the human hand becomes the input device," explained Google.
Waitrose touts benefits of switch to Google Apps for Work for 65,000 staff
Google won acclaim from Waitrose after the UK food retailer touted the benefits of moving to the cloud with Google Apps for Work across 340 outlets and 65,000 staff.
Waitrose started a move to Google apps in late 2013 to improve how staff work together across the company, following the example set by parent the John Lewis Partnership.
Google reveals Windows 8.1 bug after Microsoft ignores patch deadline
Google's Project Zero research team publically announced a flaw in Windows 8.1 in January which revealed that Microsoft had failed to meet its 90-day patch deadline, even though Google had disclosed the flaw to the company several months earlier.
The bug related to an obscure Windows system called NtApphelpCacheControl and could reportedly be exploited by a hacker, with difficulty, to launch an arbitrary executable with elevated privileges.
Google stops supporting Flash in Chrome browser
Google froze the use of Adobe Flash in its Chrome browser in a move to limit the impact of the bug-ridden software.
The move made good on the commitment Google gave in June to stop supporting Flash. HTML5 was championed as the preferred format for displaying advertising and multimedia content in the browser.
Google's Project Zero doing more harm than good, argue security experts
Google's Project Zero team came under fire from security researchers who said that the research team's exposure of flaws in Apple and Microsoft systems was irresponsible and ended up benefiting hackers more than end users.
"From an end user standpoint Google is being extremely irresponsible. They are leaving Apple users (Microsoft users previously) with no way to protect themselves while giving attackers all they need to exploit these vulnerable systems that cannot be patched," said Lamar Bailer, director of security research and development at Tripwire, talking to V3.
Q3 losses reverse Q2 gains
FBI briefing US companies to dump Kaspersky, claiming intelligence prove it a 'threat to national security'
Kaspersky rejects FBI accusations that its products are a 'threat to national security'
But breached contractor says that it simply didn't have that much data
EE follows Three in threatening legal action against Ofcom - but for entirely different reasons