Google announces Hangouts messaging service coming to iOS, Android, and desktop today

Update: The apps are now live on Google Play and the App Store.

Google today launched its much rumored messaging service live on stage at its I/O keynote and announced the service would be coming to multiple platforms today. While some thought the service would be dubbed “Babel,” Google instead rolled out a standalone app called simply “Hangouts” that will be coming to iOS, Android and desktop later today.

Google execs provided a demo of the app running on Android today, but also gave us a glimpse of the iOS version as pictured above. The demo mostly focused on showing a list of conversations (not contacts) as well as one-on-one and group messaging, photo albums stored in the cloud, and the ability to start text conversations and video calls with contacts in one tap.

As for Gmail:

What does this mean for your Gmail? You now have the option to switch from the current version of chat to Hangouts. Simply click “Try it out” next to your chat list to switch to Hangouts and give your chat an instant facelift (literally!). You’ll now see the profile photos in the order of your most recent conversations. With Hangouts, you’ll also be able to quickly send messages, have video calls with up to ten people at once, and share photos. You can start a conversation with just one friend or even a whole group.

Google made a point of noting that conversations are stored and saved in the cloud, allowing users to have long-lasting conversations and browse a full history that dates back months or years. The app will unify and replace the Google Talk, Google+ Messenger, and the Google+ Hangout apps that currently make up Google’s messaging services.

The service will be launching as a new standalone app called Hangouts for iOS devices, Android, and on the desktop some time today.

Google announces Google Play for Education launching this fall

Google today announced a new service called Google Play for Education that allows schools to easier find and distribute Google Play content to Android devices in schools.

The Google Play Education store will allow schools to search for content by subject matter and grade level and provide content that has been recommended by other educators. Google is teaming up with partners such as NASA and PBS for content but it will also begin accepting app submissions from developers this summer before the education store launches this fall.

Rather than using credit cards in an education environment, teachers will be able to purchase bulk quantities of apps and charge licenses against a balance from the school’s purchase order. The Google Play for Education service will also allow school’s that use Google Apps to instantly distribute an app to multiple devices in a school by setting up a Google Group

Google Play for Education will be launching this fall. You can learn more at https://developers.google.com/edu/.

Google announces Google Play Music ‘All Access’ streaming service, launching today for $9.99/month

Google just announced its much rumored new music service that it is calling Google Play Music “All Access” live on stage at its Google I/O event keynote presentation.

Google execs focused on showing off curated playlists but also made a note of pointing out a “radio” feature that will automatically create an endless radio station based on the song you’re currently listening to. The service will also allow users to search for a particular song or view the “playlist” of a radio station to remove unwanted songs.

The service also includes a feature called “Listen Now” that will provide quick access to recently listened to songs, customized radio stations based on your preferences, and recommendations for new releases from artists you like.

The service will be available on the web, tablets, and phones and cost users $9.99 per month with a 30 day free trial in the US. Those that sign up before the end of June will be able to get the subscription for just $7.99/month and Google said the service will land in other countries soon.

Google announces updates to Google Play developer console: beta testing & staged rollouts, app translations, more

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Google today announced new features coming to the Google Play Developer Console that will make it easier for developers to track and optimize apps across markets.

Perhaps one of the biggest features that will soon be available to developers is the ability to manage beta testing and staged rollouts right from within the Developers Console. The tool will allow developers to select a percentage of users for a stage rollout and easily beta test their apps among small amounts of users.

Among the new features, Google will be rolling out a new APK translation feature built into the console that allows developers to purchase translations through various providers directly through the console.

Other features headed to the developer console include optimization tips, referral tracking, and detailed revenue graphs. Check out a full gallery of the new features below: Read more

Google announces 900 million Android devices, 48B app installs (2.5B last month) 2.5x revenue per user YOY

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Some Numbers:

  • 48 billion app installs(2 billion under Apple)
  • 2.5 billion installs in the last month
  • more money payed out over last 4 months to developer than last year in total
  • 2.5x revenue per user YOY From Google Play

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Live notes, observations from Google’s I/O 2013 keynote

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We’re live on the scene from Google’s 2013 I/O keynote, and although the event will be streamed online, we will be providing  live commentary and photos on this page. Among other things, we’re expecting talk of a new Google Maps web interface and perhaps the debut of a Google-made Spotify competitor. The event starts at 9AM Pacific/ Noon Eastern time…

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New Google Maps leaks ahead of Google I/O, totally redesigned with tons of new features

The guys at Droid-Life we able to snag some screenshots of the new Google Maps interface set to be released later today at I/O. This isn’t the first leak we’ve seen of the new look (check last week) but it does go into more detail and it appears that the screenshots are of the upcoming product announcement page. Google apparently removed the page after the sneak peak but all of the images are above in all their glory. Read more

Facebook publicly launches Buck, a new Android build system

Just in time for Google I/O, Facebook just posted some big news for Android developers:

At the end of Camp Hack-a-Thona (the name of our annual three day hackathon in the summer), I had a working prototype for Buck, a new Android build system. By the end of August, I introduced Buck as the build tool for our Android apps, and we deleted all of the build.xml files in our repository a couple of weeks later. It took less time to download Buck’s source code, build it from scratch, and then build the Android app with Buck than it took to build the Android app with Ant. From Day 1, Buck was twice as fast as Ant, cutting Facebook for Android app build times down from 3:40 to 1:30.

Buck has enabled us to scale our repository, as modules are defined by simple, declarative build rules, so the overhead in creating one is negligible. Today we have the equivalent of over 400 Android library projects in our repository (but only 51 AndroidManifest.xml files and 141 res/ directories), which would be unthinkable using Ant. Because all four of our Android apps (Facebook for Android, Messenger, and  Pages Manager) are built from one codebase with a single, unified directory of Java source code, code reuse is straightforward. This fine-grained design also makes it easier to create small, sample applications for testing individual features of an app. These sample apps can be built much more quickly than the full-blown Facebook for Android app, which helps our developers iterate faster.

The crowd at Mobile DevCon NYC convinced me that we should not keep this tool to ourselves and that it was time to open-source Buck. Watch the video here.

We are extremely excited to share Buck with the Android development community. You can check out the code from GitHub as well as explore the documentation. We hope that you find Buck as helpful in scaling and speeding up your Android development as we have.

Hours before Google I/O kicks off, Larry Page addresses health complications via Google+

Larry Page

Google CEO, Larry Page, adressed his years of health complications today via a Google+ post, letting the world know that he was diagnosed with left vocal-cord paralysis.  This issue led to Larry skipping last year’s I/O and subsequent earnings calls. Larry revealed that he is trying to help eradicate this issue by developing a patient survey to gather information from others who suffer from the same problems.

Larry’s message in its entirety is below…

About 14 years ago, I got a bad cold, and my voice became hoarse. At the time I didn’t think much about it. But my voice never fully recovered. So I went to a doctor and was diagnosed with left vocal cord paralysis. This is a nerve problem that causes your left vocal cord to not move properly. Despite extensive examination, the doctors never identified a cause — though there was speculation of virus-based damage from my cold. It is quite common in cases like these that a definitive cause is not found.
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