National Geographic may be one of the longest-publishing magazine in history — first printed in 1888 — but that isn’t keeping it from taking a front seat in the industry-wide drive to innovate for the digital age.
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.
Spotify now offers users various packages for purchasing downloads of the tracks already streamable via the service. A single track goes for $1.29 cents a track but for $50 you can download 100 tracks (that’s 50 cents a pop). The one catch being that all credits expire after 30 days (extendable to 90 days depending on ensuing transactions). Each purchased download can be re-downloaded up to four times.
50 cents is a great deal for the savvy investor, however, many users are sure to get got by simply clicking “Get Album” on, say, the new Beastie Boys’ “Hot Sauce Committee Party Two” and pay $14.28 straight up for the 16 tracks.
The downloads come via 7digital in 320 kbps format.
Alternatively, the digital album goes for $7.99 at Amazon (320 kbps mp3), $10.99 on BeastieBoys.com (in multiple formats including lossless plus a bonus remix), and $14.99 at the iTunes store at 256 kbps AAC (incl. 30 minute Fight For Your Right Revisited video download).
When it comes to this particular release — the choices are so varied it could be a toss up. How would you go about purchasing the MP3 download?