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Android, Latest Technology

Android@I/O: Just press Play

As our developer audience knows, Android is more than simply a phone or tablet. It’s a platform, an ecosystem, and an opportunity for developers around the world to build exciting services and apps that reach millions of people every day. The flexibility and openness of Android provides developers--and Google, through services like Google Now--the opportunity to build simple, beautiful experiences across multiple devices.

Here’s a quick look at what we announced today at Google I/O, our annual developer conference:

Developers, the heart of Google Play 
Just a year after launch, there are now more ways than ever for developers to monetize their apps in Google Play, and for users to discover and enjoy apps and entertainment. We’ve passed 48 billion app downloads, with more than 2.5 billion downloads in the last month alone. Today, we launched a range of new tools, including services for game developers. 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 leaderboards. (Check out a few of our favorites: World of Goo, Super Stickman Golf 2, Beach Buggy Blitz, Eternity Warriors 2, and Osmos).

Our library is your library: Google Play Music All Access 
Google Play Music All Access is a new monthly music subscription service that lets you listen to millions of songs across your devices. You can create a radio station from any song or artist you love, browse recommendations from our expert music team or explore by genre. And when millions of songs just aren’t enough, Google Play Music lets you combine our 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. 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 only $7.99 a month.


Google Play for Education: Android goes to school 
Imagine a world in which all classrooms and students are connected to the web. While such a vision will take the efforts of many, Google has contributed to this endeavor through Google Apps and Chromebooks. Today we are excited to expand Google’s education offering by combining the ease and portability of Nexus tablets with highly engaging educational content. Through this new program educators will be able to manage tablets and discover, purchase, and distribute content through Google Play for Education--whether they're in charge of one classroom or one thousand. We’re inviting developers to get started now to create world class educational apps for grades K-12. Schools interested in learning more can sign up here.

Samsung Galaxy S4 on Google Play 
Next month, we are adding a new Android device to the store to join our current lineup of Nexus phones and tablets. We’ve worked closely with Samsung to create a special Samsung Galaxy S4 exclusively for Google Play. It brings together cutting edge hardware from Samsung with Google’s latest software and services -- including the user experience that ships with our popular Nexus devices. Starting June 26, it will be available with no contract for $649, supporting both T-Mobile and AT&T, with LTE.



Hugo Barra VP, Product Management, Android
Android, Latest Technology

A fresh new look for Google Play

Whether you’re in the mood to listen to Justin Timberlake’s new album, read Harlan Coben’s latest bestseller or discover a new game to play, you want the experience of finding and making your purchase to be quick and easy. Today we’ve started rolling out a redesigned Google Play store on Android phones and tablets that is simple, clean and — most importantly — helps you find great entertainment, fast.


The new design focuses on bigger images that jump off the page. Similarly themed content is grouped together so you can hone in on a magazine to read or an app to try. As you move down the page, new recommendations continue to appear so there is always more to see and explore. We’ve also simplified purchasing so you can breeze through checkout and get to enjoying your movie rental or other content.


The redesigned Google Play store app starts rolling out today for Android phones and tablets running Android 2.2 (Froyo) and above. People around the world should see it over the next few weeks. Get ready for a simpler Google Play.

Posted by Michael Siliski, group product manager for Google Play
Latest Technology, Lenovo, Misc. Mobile Phones

Microsoft Surface Pro vs. Lenovo Yoga 13 vs. Acer Iconia W510

Since Windows 8's debut in October, there have been a range of hot-looking devices that try to combine elements of tablets and traditional PCs. These hybrids seem as if they would be great both for relaxing with an e-book and for writing stories when I...
Android, Latest Technology

Get inside your favorite movies with Google Play

“What’s his name again? Wasn’t he the guy in that movie with the battle of the bands?” Now, while you're watching a movie on Google Play, you can find out that it’s Jack Black (of course!), who was born in Hermosa Beach and is 43 years old. And with one click you can search the web and learn the fun fact that his parents are both rocket scientists.

We’ve added info cards to the Google Play Movies & TV app so you can easily learn more about the actors, related films and even what song is playing in many of your favorite movies. When you’re watching a film on your tablet, simply press pause and cards will pop up with information about actors on screen. You can tap on an actor’s face to learn more about him, like his age, place of birth, his character in the movie, and his recent work, or scroll through the info cards to learn more about the movie or soundtrack. When you resume the movie, the cards will disappear.


This new feature is offered for hundreds of movies in Google Play and we’re adding more every day. If you’re in the U.S. and have a tablet running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and higher, download the latest version of the Google Play Movies & TV app to check it out. We hope to bring info cards to more movies in more countries and devices soon.

Posted by Ben Serridge, Product Manager for Google Play
Android, Latest Technology

The World’s Languages in Your Pocket (No Internet Required)

Have you ever found yourself in a foreign country, wishing you knew how to say "I'm lost!" or "I'm allergic to peanuts”? The Internet and services like Google Translate can help—but what if you don't have a connection? 

Today we're launching offline language packages for Google Translate on Android (2.3 and above) with support for fifty languages, from French and Spanish to Chinese and Arabic. 

You can select [Offline Languages] in the app menu to see all the offline language packages available for download. To enable offline translation between any two languages, you just need to select them in the offline languages menu. Once the packages are downloaded, you're good to go.

 

While the offline models are less comprehensive than their online equivalents, they are perfect for translating in a pinch when you are traveling abroad with poor reception or without mobile data access.
  

So go out and explore another language or another culture without worrying about Internet access. There’s a whole world offline out there.

Posted by Minqi Jiang, Associate Product Manager
Android, Latest Technology

Google Keep–Save what’s on your mind

Every day we all see, hear or think of things we need to remember. Usually we grab a pad of sticky-notes, scribble a reminder and put it on the desk, the fridge or the relevant page of a magazine. Unfortunately, if you’re like me you probably often discover that the desk, fridge or magazine wasn’t such a clever place to leave the note after all...it’s rarely where you need it when you need it.

To solve this problem we’ve created Google Keep. With Keep you can quickly jot ideas down when you think of them and even include checklists and photos to keep track of what’s important to you. Your notes are safely stored in Google Drive and synced to all your devices so you can always have them at hand.

If it’s more convenient to speak than to type that’s fine—Keep transcribes voice memos for you automatically. There’s super-fast search to find what you’re looking for and when you’re finished with a note you can archive or delete it.


Changing priorities isn’t a problem: just open Keep on your Android phone or tablet (there’s a widget so you can have Keep front and center all the time) and drag your notes around to reflect what matters. You can choose the color for each note too.

Pro tip: for adding thoughts quickly without unlocking your device there's a lock screen widget (on devices running Android 4.2+).



Google Keep is available on Google Play for devices running Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich and above. You can access, edit and create new notes on the web at http://drive.google.com/keep and in the coming weeks you'll be able to do the same directly from Google Drive.

Posted by Katherine Kuan, Software Engineer
Android, Latest Technology

Celebrating Google Play’s first birthday

Accessing digital entertainment should be simple, whether you like to read books on your tablet, listen to music on your phone and computer, or watch movies on all three. That’s why one year ago today we launched Google Play, where you can find and enjoy your favorite music, movies, books and apps on your Android phone and tablet, or on the web.

Google Play has grown rapidly in the last year, bringing you more content in more languages and places around the globe. In addition to offering more than 700,000 apps and games, we’ve partnered with all of the major music companies, movie studios and publishers to bring you the music, movies, TV shows, books and magazines you love. And we’ve added more ways for you to buy them, including paying through your phone bill and gift cards, which we're beginning to roll out in the U.K. this week.

Since no birthday is complete without presents, we’re celebrating with a bunch of special offers across the store on songs, TV shows, movies and books. We’re even offering a collection of games with some fun birthday surprises created by developers.

It’s been a busy year, but we’re just getting started. We look forward to many more years of bringing you the best in entertainment!


Posted by Jamie Rosenberg, VP of Digital Content, Google Play
Android, Latest Technology

New Google Now: More of the information you need, at just the right time.

When computers do the hard work, you can get on with the things that matter in life. Google Now helps you do just that, giving you the information you need, before you even have to ask. Like updating you with flight times, pulling up your boarding pass when you arrive at the airport, or showing you the weather at your next travel destination. Today, we’re making Google Now even more useful by integrating new partners and making all your information even easier to access.

Going to the movies? Movie cards now include the latest ratings from Rotten Tomatoes, so you can pick the right movie. Purchase your tickets through Fandango, and Google Now will remind you when you need to leave for the theater, and pull up your tickets once you arrive.


In the market for a new home? Google Now can provide you with nearby real estate listings from Zillow. Plus, when you are checking out that remodeled kitchen at the open house, Now will automatically pull up more information about the listing.


Of course, all of this information is most helpful when it’s front and center and ready when you are. The new Google Now widget brings all your important Now cards to your home or lock screen, so you don’t even have to open the app.



When Google Now first launched last summer, we promised it was just the beginning, and it would continue to get better at delivering you more of the information you need, before you even ask. This is the fourth update since launch, and we’re just getting started!


To try out these new cards, get the latest version of the Google Search app for Android, available on Google Play for devices running Android 4.1 and above.

Posted by Baris Gultekin, Product Management Director
Android, Latest Technology

Introducing Magazines on Google Play for the UK

Following hot on the heels of the recent launch of music on Google Play in the UK, we’re pleased to announce that from today, you’ll also be able to buy digital versions of your favourite magazines for reading on the go.

Popular titles from some of the world’s leading publishers such as Condé Nast UK, Dennis Publishing, Future, Haymarket, Hearst UK, Immediate Media and IPC Media are now available for purchase on your Android phone or tablet.

Get in shape with Men’s Fitness, cook up a storm with olive, work off all that turkey and Christmas pudding with Slimming World, catch up on the latest must-have gadgets with T3 and read a preview of The Hobbit in this month’s edition of Total Film.

You can stay abreast of the week’s key events with Hello!, New Statesman and The Spectator and keep on top of the latest lifestyle news with Cosmopolitan, Glamour and Tatler. Petrolheads can pick out some new wheels with What Car?, while domestic goddesses can take their inspiration from Good Housekeeping.

Browse the Play Store to find your favourite magazines, discover new titles with a 30-day free trial, buy single issues or purchase a money-saving monthly or annual subscription to leading titles such as Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Wired. New Nexus devices even come pre-loaded with free issues of Men’s Fitness, .net and Vogue to get you started.

All your latest issues will be instantly available on your Android tablet or phone, or online, using our web reader, and organised in your collection in the cloud. You can flip through your magazine carousel to quickly decide what to read next or simply search for a specific title in your magazine collection.


Magazines are available today to enjoy on the sofa or on the go via your Android devices and on play.google.com, so please take a look.

Posted by Avi Yaar, Product Manager, Google Play
Android, Latest Technology

Sound Search for Google Play widget, now available on Google Play

“What's this song?” Starting today, the Sound Search for Google Play widget is available to download from the Play store, so you can start identifying music playing around you, directly from your Android device’s homescreen.

 

Sometimes, you hear a song you like while you’re out and about but don’t want to download it right at that moment. The Sound Search widget syncs across all of your devices, so that song you recognized with your phone in the coffee shop can be quickly purchased from your tablet at home.

For devices running Android 4.2, you can add the widget directly to your device’s lockscreen, letting you recognize songs without even unlocking your phone, making it even easier for you to catch that song at the club.

The Sound Search for Google Play widget is available on Google Play for devices in the U.S. running Android 4.0 and above. After you’ve installed it, go to the widget picker and drag the Sound Search widget onto your homescreen. You can click on the widget at any time to start recognizing music around you.

Posted by Annie Chen, Software Engineer
Android, Latest Technology

New in Google Currents: Scan via your favourite classes, versions and breaking information

Keeping up on the news out there can be overwhelming. That's where Google Currents comes in—an app that allows you to discover, share and read your favorite news outlets, blogs and online magazines (what we together refer to as “editions”) on your smartphone or tablet—even when you’re offline. Currents is filled with great editions like The Los Angeles Times, CBS Sports, Android Central, The Guardian, Shortlist, and Forbes. Today, we’re revamping Currents to make it even easier to scan through all your favorite categories and specific editions with just the swipe of a finger. And, we’re using some of the technology behind Search to bring you breaking stories on those celebrity scandals, that fiscal cliff negotiation or hottest holiday gift.

Scan through categories 
We’re now grouping editions into categories to help you keep track of your existing subscriptions and discover new ones. Check out editions related to your interests through categories like Entertainment, Sports, Lifestyle and more. All of your content will be grouped in these categories, accessible from a sidebar. And you can organize your editions in each category with favorites on top.

We’ve also made it easy to quickly browse through top articles from all your favorite editions in a category—just swipe horizontally. If you subscribe to more than a dozen News editions like The Atlantic, ABC News and The Telegraph, you can quickly swipe through the entire category and dive into editions with articles of interest.

 

Scan through editions 
We’ve also made it easier to scan headlines in a particular edition—just swipe vertically. Want to see what’s new in Popular Science? Just swipe through through the headlines. After you view a story we’ll mark it as read, so it’s easier to see new content each time you use Currents.



Scan through breaking stories 
To help you stay up-to-date with the latest news, Google Currents now uses some of the technology behind Search to deliver the hottest breaking stories in categories such as World, Entertainment, Sports, Science and more. You’ll find new articles from hot topics that interest you, while discovering existing Currents editions you can subscribe to. Breaking stories are customized to your country and language—so we’ll only show you relevant news.


Currents optimizes editions to look great on whatever type of device you're using. Now articles shine, with larger images and layouts that are intelligently optimized for your device, whether you're on a phone or a tablet. Check out some of our newest featured partners like Cars.com, Voice of America News and New Scientist.

Back in April we expanded Google Currents internationally. Since then millions of readers around the world have downloaded Currents, reading over 700 publisher editions and tens of thousands of self-produced editions. The updated app is now available for download on Google Play and coming soon to iOS. We hope that today’s updates make keeping up with the latest news fast, easy and fun no matter where you are or what device you’re using.

Posted by Mussie Shore, Group Product Manager
Android, Latest Technology

New Google Now: the perfect travel companion for the holidays

Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen! For Santa’s holiday travel this season, Google Now is just the prescription.

As you head off this holiday season, the latest update to Google Now makes it even more useful for traveling. Before you even leave your house, Google Now will tell you what the weather will be like at your destination (just in time to make sure you remember to pack those mittens). At the airport, your boarding pass is automatically pulled up, helping you breeze through to the gate (launching shortly for United Airlines, with more to come). And once you've arrived at your destination, Google Now can help you uncover some great activities, by showing you events happening around you, suggesting websites for you to explore as you research things to do, or allowing you to learn more about specific pieces while you’re at a museum (using Google Goggles).



All of this builds on top of some of the other cards designed for travel, like the currency conversion, translation, and flight status cards -- hopefully taking a little bit of the stress out of holiday travel so you can focus on family and fun.

We're also making Voice Search even more powerful: you can find out the name of the song that’s playing (“What’s this song?”), quickly find product info (“Scan this barcode”) and post updates to Google+ simply by using just your voice.



These goodies are waiting for you in the updated Google Search app, available on Google Play for devices running Android 4.1, Jelly Bean, or higher.

Posted by Baris Gultekin, Product Management Director