Redefining Web search? Yep. World's leading mobile system? Check. A car that drives itself? Vroom!
But some of the Big G's outings in the gadget world have hit with a thud. Enter ... the Nexus Q.
The size and shape of a Magic Eight Ball, the Nexus Q is (or was ... it's hard to say) a media streamer that uses Android to play audio and video. It's also made in the United States, no small thing in a world where virtually all gadgets come from China.
Unfortunately, in the grand tradition of Google Wave, nobody really knew what it was when it was released in June. Its release date was pushed back and, eventually, Google just gave everybody who pre-ordered a free one.
The Q has not officially been canned. But on Google's online store, the never-released gadget is listed as "not available at this time."
Stop Online Piracy Act
The new law was supposed to be about fighting online piracy. Who's going to be against that, right?
Answer: Pretty much the whole Internet.
Members of Congress sponsored the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, and related bills to make it easier to shut down websites that illegally share music, movies and other content.
But opponents argued it went too far and could end up shutting down legitimate sites while stifling free expression in the process.
Unfortunately for backers of SOPA, Web heavyweights such as Google, Facebook, Reddit and Wikipedia joined the fight against the bill. Sites went black on January 18 to raise awareness. Members of communities such as Reddit put intense pressure on lawmakers (including soon-to-be GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan) until they dropped their support or went on record opposing the bill.
The unprecedented backlash eventually caused supporters to shelve SOPA, and quite possibly ushered in a new age of Web activism.
'Social discovery' apps
If the first wave of social networking was about hooking up with friends, the next wave would be about meeting strangers -- or so the thinking went.
Tech-world pundits predicted a new wave of "social discovery" apps that would change the way we meet people. The basic idea was that, by using phones' GPS, users could see who else was nearby and then meet up with other users with shared friends or similar interests.
"If we get this right, I cannot think of a bigger thing to be working on right now," Paul Davison, CEO of the app Highlight, told CNN in June. "We can take billions and billions of dollars."
Significantly, he also chose not to tell a reporter how many users the app had at the time.
Banjo and Glancee were apps that did something similar. Others, such as Skout and Grindr, were even more specific -- they let you hunt down willing partners for a quick hookup.
But here's the thing -- some users, particularly women, found the apps a little creepy.
OK, so you know that somebody sitting in the same bar as you likes the Pixies, "Firefly," the fantasy stylings of George R.R. Martin and the Atlanta Braves. Are you really just going to start waving around your smartphone to get their attention?