Google's sixth annual I/O Developers Conference opened today with a host of innovations and announcements for lovers of Android, mobile games, app development, maps, search and much more.
In one of the biggest announcements, the search giant unveiled a first-ever Google Play music subscription service that allows users to access all the music in Google's collection on the fly and add it to their personal collections.
Also announced were new Google Play game saving and sharing services, new APIs for Android that allow developers to create apps that can be restricted to specific locations, and developer tools that will help them improve the sales and marketing of their apps for Android.
All the details were announced in a three-hour opening keynote session that was Webcast live from the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
The new Google Play "All Access" music subscription service was unveiled by Chris Yerga, engineering director for Android. All Access allows users to bring their personal digital music collections together with a Google service that will make additional recommendations based on their existing collections.
"All Access is a unique Google approach to music subscription services," said Yerga. Using its "Explore" interface, users can review 23 top-level music genres to find new music to hear and collect, and they can listen to it immediately by tapping on a selection.
Users can even create a "radio station" on their device using All Access, which will mix related tracks and let them see what songs are coming up next. If they like the songs, users can keep them and change the order of the tracks, and if they don't like them, they can swipe the songs away, said Yerga.
"This is radio without rules," he said. "It's as lean back as you want to or as interactive as you want."
All Access is priced at $9.99 per month, but subscribers who sign up before June 30 can get it for $7.99 per month, said Yerga. Google is also offering a free 30-day trial for the service, which will work on smartphones, tablets and through Web browsers. The service is launching in the United States today and will be rolled out over time to other nations.
These kinds of new Android services are being expanded as the audience for Android is continuing to grow, said Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president of Chrome and Apps, during the keynote. As of this month, Google Android has now been activated on 900 million mobile devices, up from 400 million one year ago, said Pichai.
Google Games Innovations
As the demands for mobile game play continues, Google is working to give app developers more tools to build games that users will want to play, Hugo Barra, Google's product manager for Android, said during the keynote.
To help bring innovations in mobile games, several new APIs for Google Play Game Services were unveiled, including a Cloud Save API that lets players save their game progress so they can return to the same place later; an Achievements API that marks player progress; and a Leaderboard API to track the progress of players. Also being launched is a Multiplayer API that will allow players to use Google+ to find and invite new opponents, said Barra. All of the new APIs are being launched for Android and for iOS and Web players to allow cross-platform gaming, he said.