Internet giant Google showcased its latest services including new features for maps and search, a new music-streaming service and enhancements to its Google Plus social network at its sixth annual conference for web developers in San Francisco on Wednesday.
CEO Larry Page addressed the attendees and reflected on the speed at which the computer industry has advanced in recent years.
“We haven’t seen this rate of change in computing for a long time. Probably not since the birth of personal computing,” he said.
Google’s latest offerings included a new music-streaming service called All Access.
The service will allow Android users to listen to their favourite songs and artists for a monthly fee.
It also allows them to customise the upcoming songs in a Google-generated playlist.
“So if there is something there that we don’t want to hear, swipe it away,” said Chris Yerga, Google’s Engineering Director for the Android team.
Google is playing catch-up in the digital music space after launching its music store in November 2011.
Apple’s iTunes Store, which launched in 2003, is the leader in song downloads and Spotify claims about 6 million paying subscribers worldwide.
But Google’s massive reach on mobile devices that use its Android operating system means it could narrow the gap quickly.
Some 44 percent of active smartphones in the US, or about 53 million, are powered by the Android software, according to research firm eMarketer.
Google said about 900 (m) million Android devices have been activated worldwide.
All Access is expected to roll out soon in 12 other countries where Google currently sells music, including 10 European countries such as the UK, France and Germany, as well as Australia and New Zealand.
While a Google-branded phone wasn’t offered at the presentation in San Francisco, Hugo Barra showed off a Samsung Galaxy S4 running the same Android 4.2 Jellybean software that runs it’s Nexus tablet.
“It’s Google’s take on Android and it feels really awesome on the Galaxy S4,” Barra said.
New offerings were unveiled for the Google Play ecosystem as well, including educational apps and a delivery system tailored to better fit school districts.
Google also unveiled new photo editing capabilities as well as enhancements to its Google Plus social network.
“We really made something beautiful,” said Google’s Vic Gundrota, a Senior Vice President of Engineering.
Google’s wearable computing device, Glass was everywhere at the event, except on stage.
Some developers thought it would have received more attention from the company.
“I was expecting a little bit more being that they have invested heavily into the developer community,” said developer Nobel Ackerson.
Still, most developers were impressed with the new offerings.
“I love that whole studio,” said Skype developer Onur Cinar.
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