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What will Google do in 2012?

It has been a big year for Google, with the search engine giant branching out into new areas in a bid to dominate the tech world.

We have seen the launch of a new social network, a closure of the less-than-successful arms of Google’s empire, and new Android operating systems.

But what about the year ahead? What can we expect from Google in 2012? Here is our pick of the top Google trends for next year.

Google to launch rival to iPad?

We are very excited about the prospect of a Google-powered tablet being released sometime next year, which will try to topple Apple’s dominance of the tablet market.

Google chairman Eric Schmidt hinted in an interview recently that there could be a Google tablet, with the Nexus brand, in the next 12 months.

With the expected arrival of Apple’s third iPad in the first half of 2012, Google is likely to launch the Nexus tablet as soon as possible.

An end to Google+

Hailed as ‘Facebook killer’ by Google when it launched earlier this year, Google+ has failed to really take off in the way the tech giant had hoped.

Initial uptake of Google+ was good, and was in fact the fastest growing social network ever. But once the excitement died down, people decided that they were perfectly happy with Facebook and Twitter.

So could we see an end to Google+ next year, as Google cuts its losses and ditches the social network? The search giant is likely to give it some time, but if uptake remains slow, what is the point?

Google Wallet

With the London Olympics just around the corner, Google is keen to get Google Wallet up and running. Google Wallet is a payment system using near field communication, letting users pay for things just by waving their phone over a sensor.

Google is reportedly in talks with British retailers, distributors and banks to get the technology up and running in time for the Olympics. So watch this space!