Google's off the hook! So what now?

Google antitrust
Are Google's antitrust woes over?

Good news for Google: it turns out that it isn't evil after all. That's the verdict of US anti-trust investigators, who've spent 19 months deciding whether Google has been behaving badly.

The answer? It has, a bit, but not in all of the ways its rivals allege.

Google has promised not to 'scrape' competitor data and to stop its subsidiary, Motorola Mobility, from demanding extortionate fees for essential patents.

That's small potatoes, though: the US FTC found that as far as the the big allegation was concerned, the claim that Google was deliberately stuffing rivals in its search results, there wasn't sufficient evidence to build a case.

The verdict is pretty much what people expected, but Google's regulatory woes aren't over yet: the EU is investigating it too, and its investigators are expected to come down much harder on Google than the FTC did, not least because Google's market share in Europe is much higher.

Connecting people

Google isn't the only tech giant facing an "interesting" 2013: in our annual list of Tech Trends for the coming year we're predicting misery for Microsoft, interesting - as in the famous "may you live in interesting times" curse - times for Apple, a rocky road for RIM and lots of new goodies.

We're also expecting to see more things connecting to other things: "From cars to coffee machines, if it's possible to control it with an app, someone's going to find a way to do it."

Our phones are already at the heart of everyday computing, but will they replace our PCs too? That's what Canonical, maker of Ubuntu, reckons: it's bringing Ubuntu to smartphones, and it "looks to bring the full desktop operating system to a touchscreen device, giving users a seamless transition between their computer and smartphone."

It's a brilliant idea, says our columnist Gary Marshall, and it won't work. "The key phrase in the press release [is] 'ready to start working with partners'. That's tech-speak for 'we don't have any partners', and without widespread and enthusiastic OEM support any new OS faces an enormous uphill struggle," he says. "I hope I'm wrong, though, because [this] vision is bold and fun... the future is probably a mobile device that powers whatever happens to be nearby."

Our predictions for 2013

So what else is coming down the pipe? We locked our experts in dark rooms with crates of energy drinks, refusing to let them out until they predicted the future, and they rose to the challenge: we now know what to expect from tablets in 2013, what to expect in mobile phones, what to expect from Google, what to expect from Apple and what to expect from business tech.

Microsoft in 2013

Can Microsoft have a successful year?

We've even worked out the odds on 2013's most likely news stories in our Tech Bets for 2013. Too much information? Then check out our iPad sister title Tech., which has all the tech news and predictions you could possibly need, along with some really good jokes.

It's CES next week!

The annual CES bonanza of tech titillation is about to begin, and we're already uncovering news of Gorilla Glass 3 and new phones. Once CES kicks off properly we'll be burning the candle at both ends to bring you all the latest gadget goodness: for the first time ever we're an Official Media Partner, and we're holding our official US launch during CES too. We know, we're excited too, and if you just can't wait for the news we've got an in-depth guide to what you can expect from this year's show.

Oh, and there's one more thing: it's happy birthday to the internet - 30 years old this week.

The TechRadar hive mind. The Megazord. The Voltron. When our powers combine, we become 'TECHRADAR STAFF'. You'll usually see this author name when the entire team has collaborated on a project or an article, whether that's a run-down ranking of our favorite Marvel films, or a round-up of all the coolest things we've collectively seen at annual tech shows like CES and MWC. We are one.