Google I/O 2011 Round-Up: Chromebooks and The Cloud

Google Engineering Director Chris Yerga introduces movie rentals on the Android Marketplace
Google Engineering Director Chris Yerga introduces movie rentals on the Android Marketplace

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.

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Google I/O 2011: Music Beta App Announced and… Movies from the Cloud

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

It took:
* 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
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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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Spotify Update Enables MP3 Downloads, iTunes Integration, Better Android Sync

spotify mp3 download packages as low as 50 center per track
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Last Friday Spotify rolled out an ambitious software upgrade, making its biggest charge yet in both monetizing its platform and putting the heat on Apple’s iTunes.

Spotify announced the software update on its blog, Twitter, and elsewhere.

The big news: Sweden-based streaming music application Spotify is now selling downloads: $1.29 for one; or purchase 15 downloads for $0.87 each, 40 at $0.63 per, or 100 downloads at $0.50/track. The mp3s are delivered via a partnership with UK-based 7digital.

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My Phone Knows Everything About Me and I’m Cool With That

iphonetracker.jpg
Andrew Hyde gets around. The iPhone Tracker app confirms this. (Photo via flickr).

Andrew Hyde sold all of his worldly possessions last August and began a trip around the world. He makes no secret of this — its detailed on his website. We’re well aware that personal information becomes vulnerable whenever we agree to the terms of service of yet another fun geo-location mobile app as it typically utilizes information from the phone’s positioning to track real-time location. But this week, geodata geek and author Pete Warden released an open-source iPhone application that exploits a file in iPhone 4 (or iPad 3G) containing all recorded geographic data in the phone’s history.

The information is available without a password to anyone with access to a laptop that the iPhone in question has synced with, notes Hyde. iPhones and iPads on iOS 4 record approximate the data based on the devices distance from the cell tower it is connected to at any given time. Is this something to worry about? Not really. Unless you’re a criminal with a bullshit alibi — data from cellphones and other mobile devices have been used by authorities for years.

Thanks to a California Supreme Court decision in January, no warrant is required for authorities in our state to search cell phones or mobile devices of arrestees.

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Hiking Camelback Mountain’s Echo Canyon Summit Trail


View Camelback Hike 3/27/11 in a larger map

The summit trail to the peak of Camelback Mountain is deceiving — it’s only 1.2 miles from the parking lot to the top. But a steady elevation gain (1,300 feet total) on a trail of boulders and loose gravel makes a rather strenuous adventure. It took a little over an hour to summit and a little more than half that to get back down. But my quads still feel as though they’ve both been charlie horsed after absorbing the shock of the descent.

Awesome hike, tracked here with MyTracks, an open source Android app led by a team at Google.

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