This week on The CultCast: Google Maps gets prettier, smarter, and faster; Hangouts is a new chat app with some innovative features; Google Music is too late to party; Erfon eats H’orderves on a space jet with Tim Cook and Richard Branson; and Leander dons his powdered wig to judge an all new Faves ‘N Raves.
All that and more on this week’s CultCast! Stream or download new and past episodes on your Mac or iDevice by subscribing now on iTunes, or hit play below and let the good times roll.
Earlier this week, Google beat Apple to the punch by launching a streaming subscription music service before Cuperino could unveil its own offering, iRadio.
How did Google managed to do it? Apple has all the music industry clout, so how could Google swing a deal first? Because Google Play Music All Access is essentially a clone of services like Rdio and Spotify, and the contract terms of services like that are easy to copy.
Well, we can’t say we’re too surprised with this one following this week’s leak, but it’s great to see Google Play game services has been officially confirmed at Google I/O this morning. The service will rival services like Game Center on iOS, and features will include cloud-based game syncing, online multiplayer, and more.
OK, so maybe not a huge surprise, but Google is said to launch a paid, subscription-based music service, like Rdio or Spotify, as soon as this week at the Google I/O conference, reports the Wall Street Journal.
According to “people familiar with the matter,” says the WSJ, the announcement of the new service could happen as soon as tomorrow, when Google hosts it’s annual I/O developer conference. The WSJ says that Google has previewed new music initiatives at I/O in the past, so it might just announce the streaming service there, as well.
Google I/O kicks off today, and one of the announcements you can look forward to is a new Google Maps service. Google accidentally teased major changes ahead of its official unveiling by opening up a new webpage that allowed users to request an invite to a new Maps service.
That page has now been pulled, but not before screenshots began making their way around the Internet.
Nearly three in every four smartphones sold during the first quarter of 2013 were running Android, according to the latest statistics from the analysts at Gartner. Google’s operating system grabbed a whopping 74% of the market share during the three-month period, while Apple’s iOS came in second with 18.2%.
Companies choosing to build Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Symbian powered devices might want to look away now.
The official SoundCloud apps for Android and iOS have today been updated to add support for Google+ Sign-In, allowing you to use your Google+ account in place of Facebook or Twitter. What’s more, there’s also support for Google+ sharing.
Google has been forced to hand over Android source code documents sought by Apple in an ongoing patent-infringement lawsuit against Samsung.
The search giant initially argued that it was not required to give up the documents and that it would be too burdensome to collect them, but U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal in San Jose, California, has given the company two days to give them up.
Google Babel, the new communication service from Google, has been renamed Google Hangouts ahead of its public debut at Google I/O next week, according to an unnamed Google employee. Babel had been its name internally throughout the service’s development, but that moniker has now been dropped by Google.
Android doesn’t look like it’s about to lose any of its market share to competing platforms any time soon. During the first quarter of 2013, Google’s platform powered a whipping 59.9% of all smart mobile devices sold as total shipments hit 308.7 million units.
Apple’s iOS, on the other hand, was installed on just 19.3% of devices — despite the success of its iPhones and iPads.