Google Unleashes Google Play Music
The war for streaming music has begun…
Google Play Music All Access has been officially announced, the streaming music service for smartphones, tablets and desktops will launch in the U.S. on Wednesday and it will allow users to stream “millions” of songs, create personalized radio stations and discover music based on their music preferences, according to the company.
“This is radio without rules,” Chris Yerga, Android’s engineering director, said when he introduced the service at Google’s annual I/O conference in San Francisco. “It’s as lean back as you want to as or as interactive as you want it to be.”
The service, which will be available for $9.99 per month after a monthlong free trial, competes directly with Spotify, the 5-year-old streaming music service that launched in the U.S. in 2011, as well as Pandora, the Internet radio giant.
Unlike All Access, which has a monthly fee, Spotify uses a “freemium” model; users can listen, with ads, for free on their desktop computers, pay $4.99 to listen ad-free, or pay $9.99 to stream and download unlimited music on multiple devices.
Google Recognizes Palestine
The United Nations may have recognized the state of Palestine last year… but the influence won there is now shadowed by an even bigger nod: Google has changed the tag on the home page of its Palestinian edition to read “Palestine” instead of “Palestinian Territories.”
The change went into effect at the start of this month, and a company spokesman cites the UN precedent, adding that Google consults “a number of sources and authorities when naming countries.” The Palestinian Authority is thrilled because “this means putting Palestine on the virtual map as well as on the geographic maps,” says a spokesman.
Google Street View Catches Guy Getting Hand Job (pics)
Another gold nugget from Google Street view was recorded recently when its 15-lens cameras recorded a woman and a man on Temperance Street in Manchester, U.K., engaged in some manual stimulation.
Google Sightseeing, an unofficial blog covering Google Maps and Google Streetview, embedded the map in question on its site on March 7.
Tweets from Google Sightseeing indicate that the images were unavailable later that day, but not before screenshots had immortalized the couple.
Google Prepares To Shut Down Reader
I’ll be honest, I never used it and didn’t even notice that it existed, but a lot of people seem quite sadden that Google is shutting down its Reader after eight years of its launch.
The news-reading service was “an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites,” Google said in a blog post. “While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader.” Google Reader’s own blog noted sadness over the closure, adding that “as a company we’re pouring all of our energy into fewer products.”
At the Atlantic Wire, Adam Clark Estes notes widespread frustration—but says we shouldn’t be surprised. “Google Reader’s been staring death in the face at least since the fall of 2011, when the company shut down the product’s social features,” he writes. Still, users took no time to lament. “Google puts the kittens in the blender, prepares to push the button,” tweeted one.
Google: You Are Using Google+ Whether You Like It Or Not
You don’t like Google+? Well, Google is going to MAKE you like it… While Facebook users are spending 400 minutes per month on that site, Google+ users spend just three minutes—and Google is trying to change that by making its own social network a little more “obligatory”
People who use a range of Google services, including writing reviews, are now required to take part in its social network, though it is possible to keep personal pages private.
It was Google CEO Larry Page who pushed for the new integration. Facebook currently has an advertising advantage in that it links online behavior to people’s real names, and it knows who your friends are, too. Google is hoping to get its hands on such information through Google+.
Complains one frustrated user: Google is “trying too hard to compete with Facebook, and if people aren’t going to share willingly, they’ll make them share unwillingly.”
Google Maps Making Its Way Back To iPhone
Back in September, Apple made the huge mistake of dumping Google’s famed maps from its latest mobile operating system, iOS 6. But Google is bouncing back and is putting the finishing touches on a new map app it has built for Apple devices, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The app is said to include turn-by-turn navigation, one of the company’s most popular features and one that wasn’t included in the previous app, which was created by Apple using Google’s data.
Ironically, Apple’s decision to boot Google maps from iOS 6—along with Google’s YouTube app—could end up being beneficial for Google. Now that Google’s map and YouTube services aren’t being controlled by Apple, the company will have a lot more leeway to include advertising and other money-makers.
Google’s New Field Trip App Is Your New Best Friend
Google’s latest smartphone app, Field Trip, will soon put tour directors out of work. The app, which is an automated guide to the world around you as you walk down the street, is currently available on Android devices and is designed to run in the background of your phone, pinging you with notifications about nearby landmarks, surrounding restaurants and miscellaneous local trivia when it sees fit.
“When you get close to something interesting, [the app] pops up a card with details about the location,” the app’s description reads. “No click is required. If you have a headset or bluetooth connected, it can even read the info to you.”
According to its website, the app can be set to two modes: “Feeling Lucky,” which sends users the occasional notification; and “Explore,” a mode for those of us who are more curious and don’t mind a greater load of pushed information. And of course, the app can be turned off to give users downtime.
The types of notifications smartphone owners receive can also be personalized. For example, if you’re walking down New York City’s 5th Avenue and want information about the best places to shop, you can adjust the amount of “Offers & Deals” sent. But if you prefer to hear about the history of the Plaza Hotel and don’t want to spend a dollar, you can unsubscribe from the “Offers” list and amp up notifications in the “Architecture” or “Historic Places” feeds.
“The idea behind the app was to build something that would help people connect with the real, physical world around them,” a vice president of product, John Hanke, told the New York Times.
Google Looking Into Map App For iPhone
Relax, you are not the only one wailing and gnashing your teeth because Apple removed Google Maps from iOS 6, and Google knows it: In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Google UK’s marketing director made it clear they want to make a standalone map app available and said meanwhile iPhone users “can still use Google Maps by downloading them.” Of course, that’s off the mark, 9to5 Mac points out—there is currently no such download in the app store. You can get to Google Maps via the browser, but it’s not ideal.
SearchEngineLand asked Google to clarify. “Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system,” the company replied, without elaborating.
A dedicated app can’t come soon enough for many users. Apple’s new maps app is so buggy that a Tumblr has cropped up for users to post screenshots of its failure. It’s derisively titled, “The Amazing iOS 6 Maps.”