Highs and lows for Google in 2010

HIGH: Chrome

Google's web browser seems to ship a new version every few days - at the time of writing we're on version eleventy-three - and the strategy is paying off: according to StatCounter, its market share jumped from under 5% this time last year to 13-plus-percent now. With more than 8,500 extensions, 1,400 themes and a blazing fast engine powering the whole shooting match, Chrome has become an excellent everyday browser.

LOW: Chrome OS

Were we the only ones to go "huh?" at the Chrome OS launch? Google's desktop operating system is undoubtedly fast and there are obvious benefits for enterprise customers, but we're struggling to see the appeal to consumers like us when the Chrome browser will deliver much the same experience without locking you into a web-only OS. It was supposed to be out by now too, but the shipping date has slid well into 2011.

HIGH: Mobile Google Docs

Google Docs on the iPad is a wonderful thing. The service is now available for most browsers and even smartphones.

LOW: YouTube bullies and Street View scanning

In February, Italian YouTube executives were found guilty of violating privacy laws when the site didn't remove a bullying video quickly enough, and at the time of writing the Street View service has attracted regulators' attention after the Street View cars, ahem, accidentally scanned people's wireless networks.

HIGH: Google Voice

Apple's apparent App Store ban - which lasted for more than a year - meant Google Voice became famous for all the wrong reasons: rather than see it as the App Apple Tried To Ban, it should be seen as Google's Really Amazing Service. The former GrandCentral gives you one number that follows you around from landline to mobile and online, and we're gutted we can't get it over here.

LOW: Facebook

Google's biggest rival isn't Microsoft. It's Facebook. Time spent faffing around on Facebook is time you're not spending on the open Internet, using Gmail or any of Google's other services - and that means you're not seeing Google's ads. Hence November's Google/Facebook fight, with the latter cheekily grabbing data from Google address books without returning the favour and Google going in an almighty huff. Expect more barneys as Facebook's grip on the entire Internet continues to tighten.

HIGH: Instant Previews and Google Instant

It hasn't escaped controversy - lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender users are upset that the Instant's adult filtering also excludes LGBT terms - but Google's instant suggestions are very useful and a little bit spooky. We like the previews too, which make visits to useless sites considerably less likely.

LOW: Net Neutrality

Google has long been a supporter of Net Neutrality, so jaws dropped in August when the firm essentially said "yeah, net neutrality's awesome, but obviously that only applies to wired connections because wireless is, y'know, different" while holding hands with mobile phone company Verizon. As the EFF put it, the net neutrality proposals created by Google and Verizon "included some really terrible ideas".

HIGH: Nexus S

Could this be the world's best smartphone? It's certainly looking pretty good. We can't wait to find out whether it's good enough for us to forget the price tag.

LOW: Eric Schmidt bumping his gums

Whether it's arguing that teenagers should change their names to stop their online history embarrassing them, claiming that Google policy is to "go right up to the creepy line" or saying that "We know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about", the Google CEO once again wins our Tech Boss Most Likely To Own A Coat Made Of Human Skin award.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.