Google took us further into the digital media future with some compelling announcements at the fourth annual Google I/O developers conference in San Francisco this week. Recent Google I/O keynotes seem silly in retrospect — both Google Wave and Buzz were epic busts. But this year Google narrowed its focuses to it’s strengths, namely the Android mobile operating system and the Chrome browser and operating system. The gist was this: Use Google’s web-based tools and applications, combine with seemingly infinite storage space in the cloud, and bulky hard drives and desktop PC’s will become mere artifacts of our technological evolution. A Google account combined with a device running Android or Chrome OS will be all you need to do [almost] anything.
Chrome 11 benchmarks at 10 times the speed of previous versions and Google is ready to pronounce the death of the PC, as we know it. On June the Chromebook — a netbook with cloud-based applications built specifically for the enterprise and education — will hit the streets, with Samsung and Acer as partners. The Chromebooks will be available to businesses for $28 per user per month and to educational institutes for $20 per user per month. The Chromebooks, with 11.6-inch (Acer) or 12.1-inch HD displays (Samsung), will be available to consumers from $349 for the Acer to $429 (WiFi only) and $499 (3G) for the Samsung.
Also coming soon (live as of May 12) — the team that produced Arcade Fire’s The Wilderness Downtown interactive video will launch and even more interactive music video with integrated UGC built on top of the Danger Mouse with Daniele Luppi release titled Rome + Jack White (dropping May 17th, stream via NPR)
More cool GPL-based wizardry at chromeexperiments.com.
The Google I/O 2011 afterparty was geek entertainment at it’s best. Complete with a token 45-minute set by Jane’s Addiction (with Chris Chaney on bass – Eric Avery left the band last year) and dozens of extreme geeks holding up their newly gifted Samsung Galaxy Tabs to shoot a few clips of video (watch the set in HD below), the highlight of the event was likely the Maker Faire-esque playground of Google-powered and -inspired installations. Robotic symphonies performed by everyday kitchen appliances; the famous self-driving car; a mellow set by DJ Mark Farina; a pinball arcade; and this thrilling bicycle-powered carousel (warning: watching video may cause dizziness)….
Click here to view Google I/O photo gallery on flickr.
Google officially announced its long-rumored streaming-from-the-cloud music app for Android and the web at Google i/o at Moscone Center in San Francisco. It’s currently free (it is in beta after all) — request an invite at music.google.com. No comment on whether or not Google has come any closer to offering streaming legally, as licensed by the labels and publishers. Another exciting announcement — you can now rent videos on Android Market at http://market.android.com/movies. You have 30 days to stream each rental via web or mobile tablet or phone ($1.99 – $3.99 per rental).
In other news from the opening keynote: To date there have been:
* 100M Android activations
* 400,000 daily activations on 215 carriers
* 200,000 available apps on Market
* 2 years to 1 billion app installs
* 5 more months to 2 billion
* now 4.5 billion app installs from Android Market
Honeycomb 3.1 coming soon to all devices
Ice Cream Sandwich – new Android OS – 2.4 – coming soon
…and all 5,000 attendees at Google I/O are receiving the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet (a special-edition model, a month before it hits stores)!
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