Friday, 29 June 2012

Google I/O 2012: Google Play to offer videos, TV shows and magazines

This year’s Google I/O conference was mainly focussed on the Google Nexus 7 tablet and their latest Android operating system Jelly Bean, but Google Play - the company's online store - did not go unmentioned. Google took some time out during the keynote address to reveal that they have now expanded Google Play to offer users the ability to purchase magazines, movies and TV shows. This update will be available on all devices over the next few days.

Google states that Google Play is a digital entertainment destination with more than 600,000 apps and games plus music, movies and books. It is entirely cloud-based, which means all of your content is always available across all of your devices. The company stated, “Today, our store is expanding to include magazines. We’ve been working with leading publishers Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith and more to offer magazines like House Beautiful, Men’s Health, Shape and WIRED.”

With the expansion of Google Play, the company stated that one can now purchase movies as opposed to merely renting them. They will also be adding television shows on Google Play. “We’re adding thousands of episodes of broadcast and cable TV shows like "Revenge", "Parks & Recreation" and "Breaking Bad", from some of the top studios like ABC Studios, NBC Universal and Sony Pictures. You can play back movies and TV shows on all your Android devices through Google Play on the web, and on YouTube. We will soon be taking the experience to Google TV devices,” Google stated.

A report by CNET stated, “The changes help make Google Play a better alternative to Apple and Amazon. And if all goes according to Google's plan, it'll make devices like its new Nexus Q streaming-media device something more than an electronic paperweight.” Touching upon the reach and growth of Google Play, the report quoted Chris Yerga, an engineering director for Android as saying, "So far, Google Play, which was formerly known as the Android Market, has been used to install 20 billion apps. Paid apps are available in 132 countries and free apps are in 190 countries."

More than 50 percent of app revenue comes from in-app billing, Yerga added, in which people purchase things like new game levels. Coming to the app store are two features: app encryption, which will be available with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and smart app updates, in which only the parts of an app that have been changed are downloaded when an update is performed. Yerga said, “On an average, with the most popular apps we looked at, a smart APK [Android installation file] update is about one-third the size of a new update. It's a win for carriers, developers, and users. We handle it automatically. It's supported for Gingerbread [Android 2.3] and above.”

Google claims that since Jelly Bean builds on top of Ice Cream Sandwich, it makes everything smoother, faster and more fluid. The company informed that notifications are now more dynamic; for instance, if one is late for a meeting or has missed a call, they can send an e-mail or call directly from within the notifications. With Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, Google claims that the keyboard is smarter and more accurate and can predict the user’s next word. Another interesting feature is that voice typing is faster, working even when one does not have a data connection.

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