16/05/2013

Google I/O 2013 Day 1: Highlights

Google I/O 2013 kicked off yesterday i.e. May 15th. A ton of new things were introduced by Google, and we try to talk about all the major stuff in this single article.

Hangouts Replaces Talk

gTalk, Google Talk or whatever you called it, is now gone. It has been replaced by Hangouts, Google’s attempt at unifying all its messaging services viz. Google Talk, Google Voice, Gmail Chat, Google + Hangout and what not. The app is already available for download from the play store. The app has a slick interface and packs some nice animations for message being sent, read or typed. But Google still doesn’t seem to get one thing right: Unifying the messaging service. Unlike Google Voice, there isn’t any option to SMS anyone who isn’t on Hangouts, nor you can voice call anyone. Thankfully, Video calling can be done with up to ten friends at the same time, just like G+ original hangout.

All Access Subscription and a UI revamp: Google Music

Google Music introduced the option to upload your own songs and the option to buy individual tracks from the play store. But with the introduction of All Access subscription, for $9.99 per month, you get access to all the songs that are present on the Play Store. This makes Google Music one of the best music managers out there. You get Spotify like  streaming service, iTunes like buying options and the option to upload your very own songs which are somehow absent from the play store.

"With our new All Access service (US), you can play millions of songs on Google Play, listen to radio with no limits, and enjoy playlists handcrafted by our music experts. Keep listening for just $7.99/month when you start your trial before 6/30/2013." reads the description of the Google Music app on the play store.

In addition to the new subscription, Google Music app for Android has undergone a major UI revamp. The app sorts your music in a more eye soothing way, and is way more elegant than the previous options. You can use swipe to remove gesture to remove songs from your queue. Google also recommends you songs based on your taste, just as it does with apps on the play store. Download the app here to experience the new UI yourself.

Google Galaxy S4!

This was the only device that was launched yesterday, and has been one of the best kept secrets recently. No one was guessing that Galaxy S4 would come with a Nexus experience, with people guessing about Nexus 5, and Nexus 4 with LTE and stuff. What came out is a Samsung Galaxy S4 without touchwiz, and with a promise of latest Android updates from Google. The Nexus version of S4 will be available for  ahefty $649, and as of now, will be available on the American shores only. The specs of the device remain the same as that of the US variant of Galaxy S4 with touchwiz.

Google Play Games is real

We had speculated it earlier (thanks to AndroidPolice) and now it’s official. Google introduced Google Play Games, which introduces leaderboards, real time multiplayer and turn based multiplayer among other features. A few games have already jumped into the party and have released updates that make full use of Google’s multiplayer framework. Go download the latest update of World of Goo or Mega Run or Mortal Combat 4 to get an idea about Google’s multiplayer iteration.
Google Play Games have been the reason for the demise of Google+ Games which will disappear starting June 30.

Google Books allow you to upload your own books

Google Books finally allows you to upload your own PDF or EPUB files to read them using the Google Play Books app. This feature was one of the most requested ones and Google has listened to the audience.

Google+

The web version of Google+ has received a major update too, with a new triple column interface adding to the viewing pleasure of its rare users. As told earlier, Google Hangouts are replacing Google Talk and as expected, are tightly integrated with Google+.

Google Maps updated with better Navigation

Last but obviously not the least, Google Maps for Android will receive a major update this summer. The update will include a better navigation, again, with more eye candy. Also, there is a tighter Google+  integration with your friends’ locations  popping up in your search results, if they are relevant to what you have searched.

Stay tuned for more updates from Google I/O as well as from rest of the world!
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