Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Google Launches All Access Music Service, Updated Maps, New
Android-based Samsung Galaxy S4 at Google I/O
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This morning, Google kicked off the 6th annual Google I/O
developer conference with over 6,000 developers at Moscone
Center in San Francisco, and many new announcements.
Google underlined its focus on its two open platforms:
Android and Chrome. They enable developers to reach as many
people as possible with their apps and services across
multiple devices. Android started as a simple idea to
advance open standards on mobile; today it is the world's
leading mobile platform and growing rapidly. Similarly,
Chrome launched less than five years ago from an open source
project; today it's possibly the world's most popular
Google made several announcements today designed to give
developers even more tools to build great apps on Android
Here's a quick look at some of the announcements Google made
- Android & Google Play: In addition to new
developer tools, Google unveiled Google Play Music All
Access, a monthly music subscription service with access to
millions of songs that joins Google's music store and
locker. You can create a radio station from any song or
artist you love, browse recommendations from Google's expert
music team or explore by genre. And when millions of songs
just aren't enough, Google Play Music lets you combine its
collection with your own collection. You can store 20,000
songs for free in the cloud and listen to them alongside the
All Access catalog.
All three major record labels - Vivendi's Universal Music
Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group
Corp. - are part of the All Access service.
It's $9.99 a month, and you can try it free for the first
month. Or better yet, start your trial by June 30 and you'll
pay $7.99 a month.
Google music service is challenging smaller companies like
Pandora and Spotify in the market for streaming music.
At $9.99 a month, Google's service is costlier than the
$3.99 required for Pandora, but on par with Spotify.
- Google Play game services with real-time multiplayer and
leaderboards. For users, this means that you'll be able to
challenge your friends on Google+ to real-time multiplayer
competitions, or race against them to the top of the
Also, coming next month to Google Play is a special Samsung
Galaxy S4, which brings together cutting hardware from
Samsung with Google's latest software and services - including
the user experience that ships with our popular Nexus
devices. Google worked closely with Samsung to create a
special Samsung Galaxy S4 exclusively for Google Play.
Starting June 26, it will be available with no contract for
$649, supporting both T-Mobile and AT&T, with LTE.
- Chrome: With over 750 million active users on Chrome,
Google is now focused on bringing to mobile the speed,
simplicity and security improvements seen on the desktop.
Google previewed next-generation video codec VP9 for faster
video-streaming performance; the request Autocomplete API
for faster payments; and Chrome Experiments such as "A
Journey Through Middle Earth" and Racer to demonstrate the
ability to create immersive mobile experiences not possible
in years past.
- Google+: Google unveiled the newly designed Google+, which
helps you easily explore content as well improve your online
photo experience to give you beautiful photos - without the
work. The photo-management tool will pick out the best
shots from a wide assortment of photos. The automatic photo
selection is done by calling upon Google's knowledge of the
elements that make up a visually pleasing picture, coupled
with facial recognition technology and a vast database that
helps tie together the relationships of people appearing in
If the photos don't look quite right, Google is promising to
enhance them. Editing tools will automatically remove red
eyes, sharpen colors and adjust contrast.
Another new photo feature promises to stitch together a
sequence of photos taken of the same group of people or a
Google Plus will also start to display automatic hash tags
to identify the main topic being discussed in a post or
featured in a photo. Google is using its understanding of
semantics and photo-scanning technology to figure out what
is going on. Individuals will still have an option of
editing or forbidding a hash tag from appearing if they
don't agree with Google's automatic selection. Clicking on
the hashtag will take Google Plus users to other posts and
pictures bearing the same marker. Similar content being
shared by family and friend is supposed to show up first,
thanks to the same ranking system that Google's search
engine uses to pick out the most relevant results.
Google also upgraded Google+ Hangouts - the popular group
video application - to help bring all of your real-life
conversations online, across any device or platform, and
with groups of up to 10 friends.
Google claims that 190 million people are now active in the
Google+ stream, and 390 million are active across Google
(+1'ing apps in Google Play, making video calls in Gmail,
sharing videos from YouTube...).
- Search: Google added the ability to set reminders by voice
and we previewed "spoken answers" on laptops and desktops in
Chrome - meaning you can ask Google a question and it will
speak the answer back to you.
Google also expanded it to make search more intelligent in
other languages. And starting today, you'll get richer
answers from the Knowledge Graph if you speak Polish,
Turkish, and Traditional and Simplified Chinese.
- Maps: Google previewed the next generation of Google Maps.
Each time you click or search, Google's technology draws you
a tailored map that highlights the information you need.
From design to directions, the new Google Maps is smarter
and more useful.
Like a friend drawing you a map to her favorite restaurant,
with only the roads and landmarks you need to get there, the
new Google Maps instantly changes to highlight information
that matters most.
And the more you interact with the map, the better it gets.
When you set your Home and Work locations, star favorite
places, write reviews and share with friends, Google Maps
will build even more useful maps with recommendations for
places you might enjoy.
In addition to a customized map, Google also made it easier
to uncover the best local gems. Search results are labeled
directly on the map with brief place descriptions and icons
that highlight business categories and other useful
information - like restaurants that are recommended by your
Google+ friends. Info cards provide information such as
business hours, and ratings and reviews so you can quickly
decide where to eat, drink and play.
The new carousel gathers all Google Maps imagery in one spot
enabling you to fly through cities, walk canyon trails,
climb mountains, and even swim the oceans. And on a
WebGL-enabled browser, like Google Chrome, the carousel is
also where you'll find the Earth view which directly
integrates the 3D experience from Google Earth into the new