Google Announcing New Products at I/O Conference

Google 2013 developer conference - new google productsThe biggest Internet news of the week is coming from Google, which just yesterday kicked off its 6th annual Google I/O developer conference.

The conference, which over 6,000 developers are attending at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, is still going on right now and will conclude tomorrow. But there has been quite a lot of buzz about what Google has already announced.

Here’s a rundown of the biggest announcements from the Google I/O developer conference so far:

  • Google Play Music All Access: This is a new, unlimited streaming music/Internet radio subscription service. It offers access to millions of tracks, playlists and suggestions based on music you already own and like, and let you customize a streaming radio station based on specific songs or artists (a la Pandora). You can stream music on Web or Android phones and tablets. The service will cost $9.99 a month, but if you sign up for a free 30-day trial before June 30th, you’ll pay only $7.99 a month. CNET has a review of the new All Access service. Or visit Google Play Music.
  • Google Play social gaming: Google is launching a new platform that will allow game developers to build in more social gaming aspects as well as take advantage of Google’s cloud storage capabilities, so you could play and pause a game on Android devices, iOS decices, PCs or Macs. See the Wall Street Journal for a review.
  • Google Maps: The popular map and direction service has been totally rebuilt. The next generation of Google Maps offers a more full-screen, less cluttered view with a search box built into the map itself. You’ll get a lot more options with your map searches: more local points of interest, more business information, street view and satellite imagery options, photo tours, and more. You’ll likewise get more options for directions: car, public transportation, walking, biking, flying. The new maps is available for the Web, on Android devices, or iPhone. Google has a preview of the new Maps and links to downloads here.
  • Google Search: Google previewed its work on conversational search. When it launches, you’ll be able to say “OK, Google, will it be raining this weekend in Central Park?” and get your answer spoken back to you. You can then ask follow-up questions. Google also announced improvements to its Knowledge Graph, to answer factual questions more precisely and fully. And Google Now updates offer reminders based on time and your current location. See Google’s Inside Search blog for more details.
  • Google Hangouts: Google launched a new Hangouts chat, video chat and unified messaging app that works across platforms. You can use it to text, send photos, or have a group video conference; SMS integration is reportedly coming soon (but not for iOS). The new Hangouts replaces Google Talk and G+ Messenger. It’s now available on Android, iOS, Chrome and Gmail. Read a review of Hangouts on Techcrunch.
  • Google+: The social network site has been redesigned to work better across platforms (Web and mobile devices). Google+ Photos also features a number of important updates: Auto Backup, Auto Highlight, Auto Enhance, and the more-awesomely named Auto Awesome. Google has an overview of G+ changes here.

That’s not all. Watch for more updates on Google’s Official Blog.

You can also keep up-to-the-minute on Google announcements and even watch live streaming video of the ongoing developers conference here.

How the Internet Is (And Isn’t) Changing Music

I think we all remember how Internet access changed the music industry (especially high-speed Internet access like cable and DSL).

EarthLink Music Channel - Powered by Rhapsody

Napster. iTunes.

But what’s the state of music today? What are all the ways people are discovering and listening to music?

The answers are hot off the press.

Nielsen, a leader in TV and other media measurement, just released its Music 360 Report on Tuesday.

Nielsen’s in-depth study of U.S. consumers looked at all aspects of music consumption, including listening and purchasing, music discovery, social networking, mobile music apps, and more.

The big takeaways for many may be both how much some things about music haven’t changed – and how much others have.

On the one hand, radio is still the dominant way U.S. consumers discover music. Almost half (48%) discover music most via the radio, versus only 10% through friends and relatives and 7% through YouTube.

And a good old-fashioned, word-of-mouth recommendation from a friend is still more than twice as likely to lead to purchasing music than any other factor.

On the other hand, teenagers are listening to music via YouTube more than through any other source: 64% for YouTube, 56% for radio, 53% radio, 50% for CDs.

To get all the stats, check out this press release on the Nielsen website.

If you’re interested in a good source of online music, you should also check out the MyEarthLink Music channel, which is powered by Rhapsody.