Google has just announced Google Play Music All Access at its Google I/O 2013 developer conference, the company's new subscription music service. Aside from givng you access to the millions of songs in Google's new streaming catalog, it will also incorporate tracks that you have stored in your Google Play Music account. The service launches today, and will cost $9.99 per month. Google offers a 30-day trial--sign up for the free trial by June 30th, you'll lock in a $7.99 per month rate, making it 20% cheaper than competing services like Rdio and Spotify.
It is expected that Apple will announce it's own streaming music service, possibly at WWDC 2013 in June, but rumors point to it being more akin to a Pandora Internet radio competitor than a full on streaming service where you can pick and choose individual tracks and albums that you want to listen to.
Windows Phone users have been patiently waiting for a full-fledged YouTube app, and today it has finally arrived. Replacing the glorified mobile web version of YouTube "app," the new version brings all the native Windows Phone 8 love in parity with YouTube's standard features. You can share videos to other social networks, log in to your account to access your favorites and playlists, and even do stuff like set videos, channels, and even search queries as Live Tiles on the homescreen--something unique to Windows Phone. You can grab the new Windows Phone YouTube app right now.
Read More | Windows Phone Blog
Despite Google Glass Explorer Edition units already being in the hands of developers, it appears that Google won't be ready to release Glass to the masses for another year or so. Originally the company had hopes to release it's wearable computing device by the end of 2013 for general consumers, but comments from Eric Schmidt in an interview on BBC Radio 4 says otherwise.
In response to a question asking when Glass will be available, Schmidt said, "there will be thousands of [Google Glass] in use by developers over the next months, and then based on their feedback, we'll make some product changes, and it's probably a year-ish away."
Obviously, we are in mid-April, so it sounds like the earliest we'll see Glass hit the market will be Spring 2014. A disappointment to many, we're sure, but a device like Glass needs to be done just right, and we're glad to see Google taking the time to get it right before releasing it. You can listen to the interview here--fast forward to the 4-minute mark to hear the Glass discussion.
More on Google Glass:
Google is giving out a few dozen Google Glass Explorer Edition units each day, rolling them out to developers as they are being made, rather than waiting until all are done to get them out at the same time. The result? A bunch of excited devs getting their hands on Glass, and giving their opinions on the future tech. We're already seen images of the Google Glass box contents, and now Brandon Allgood gives a great first impression on his Google+ account. Here's a snippet:
I wore Glass all day today. It was light and didn't bother me to do so. The battery truly lasted all day. I didn't however take long videos or hangout for very long. I am also not very popular on G+ and most of my email goes to my business account so I didn't mind the "ding" when I got an email or G+ comment. Most of my co-workers were excited about seeing Glass. Some were a little uncomfortable about it. Overall the reaction has been positive and people aren't bothered by me wearing it in meetings and such. I do live in Silicon Valley, so your experience may differ. I found that my habits will nee to be modified. For example I just need to tint my head back (which turns on the display) and I can see the time. No more looking for a clock or pulling out my phone. I also don't need to check my email on my phone or computer. I found myself from time to time hearing the chime and then pulling my email up on my computer and not Glass. I am over that now.
Hit the link below to head on over to Brandon's Google+ post for the rest. It's a good read on what it's like when you first get Glass, and the process of getting used to using it, the expected, and the unexpected.
Read More | Brandon Allgood Google+
Google Glass units are starting to land in the hands of developers who've signed up for the early Explorer Edition of the device, and images and videos are making their way to the Internet with the quickness. For example, Brandon Allgood posted an image of Glass unboxed to his Google+ page, showing everything it comes with. If you're curious, along with Glass, Explorers also get two different visor lenses (clear and shaded,) a carrying bag with a hard plastic area, AC adapter, and a USB cable for charging all in a Nexus-like box. Hard to believe that Google Glass is finally here, but the units are making their way out into the wild. Google says that it hopes to release Glass to the masses before the end of the year.
Read More | Google+
Google confirmed today that Google Glass units are rolling off the production line, with paying Explorer Edition members set to start receiving their devices in the coming weeks. The expectation was that the Google Glass Explorer Edition would begin to ship at the beginning of next month, and it appears that Google is right on track. The Explorer Edition of Google Glass is an early-access model that allows developers to get their hands on the device and API, readying Google Glass experiences for customers when Glass goes on sale publicly near the end of the year.
Read More | Google
"It's important that Apple not be the developer for the world. We can't take all of our energy, and all of our care, and finish the painting and have someone else put their name on it." - Tim Cook, Apple CEO
The same statement rings true for Google. If others are reaping the rewards, and little to nothing is left for oneself, then what's the point? If a product does not meet the expectations set before it, then developing for it doesn't make much sense. If any given product is not self-sustainable, then it is not cost effective and eventually becomes a burden to the maker--even if users appear to enjoy using it. Make no mistake about it, Google is in the business of making money, and everything else is secondary (including good will.)
Google's co-founder and now recently-minted CEO, Larry Page, bought Android in 2005. He also brought along Andy Rubin, one of its creators, over to Google, who recently renounced his post as Senior Vice President of mobile Digital Content. Basically, the guy who was leading Android. It has been said that Sergey Brin, the other tandem co-founder, was not enthusiastic about the purchase. Former Google CEO at the time, Eric Schmidt, now Chairman at Google had a similar reaction. These somewhat pessimistic receptions were also shared by Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President of Engineering. However, he recanted these thoughts at Google I/O 2010.
The Google Play Store is getting a fresh coat of paint beginning today with the release of the official 4.0 update. What's so great about Google Play 4.0? Well, for starters, the images are larger, making it easier to see what exactly your about to download. Content grouping has also been improved, providing better recommendations of other items you might be interested in, and the checkout process also sees a slight overhaul as well. Google Play 4.0 starts worldwide rollout today, and may take a couple of weeks before hitting your particular device. It'll run on any smartphone or tablet running Android 2.2 or later.
Read More | Android Blog
Google Fiber is officially coming to Austin, Texas, giving people yet another reason to want to live in the edgy city. Google has not yet revealed the rollout schedule, but don't let that fool you--they'll likely be splitting the city up into different "Fiberhoods" like what happened in Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri in order to gauge the areas of highest interest. Google Fiber offers 1 Gbps broadband Internet, television service, and phone service through a direct fiber to the home connection. This marks the thirs city that Google Fiber is making an appearance in, as Google's Eric Schmidt recently said that Fiber is a "real business"--here's hoping we see quick expansion to additional neighborhoods in the US.
Read More | Gig-U
During today's Facebook Home announcement, HTC and AT&T announced the HTC First, a new smartphone set to launch in just over a week that was built from the ground up to run Facebook Home as its main interface. Aside from being the, um, first phone to launch with Facebook Home built-in, it'll also be the first smartphone to ship with Instagram pre-installed (although the Samsung Galaxy Camera does, too, but it isn't technically a phone.) The phone itself is a beautifully simple device from a design perspective, and on the inside runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor keeping things humming along, and status updates flowing across the 4.3-inch display. It also runs on AT&T's 4G LTE network, which Ralph de la Vega made sure to pimp as the fastest LTE network in the country. You'll be able to pick up the HTC First on April 12 (hey, the same day that the iPhone 5 hits T-Mobile!) for $99.99 in the US, and you'll have a choice of four colors: black, white, sky blue, or red.
Read More | HTC First