Google I/O

By Jason Griffey |

Today was the start of the Google I/O conference, the developer conference that Google holds every year where they make major announcements, primarily about their Android operating system. During the keynote today, they offered several updates and new products that could potentially be interesting for libraries. Here's the ones that I think are the most interesting:

The Android Market was updated to include movie rentals. This allows for one-click rentals via either the web or an Android device, streaming from the web or available to be "pinned" to a portable device and watched offline. The selection isn't huge, but one can only imagine that it's going to grow rapidly if the service becomes more popular. The model is similar to the iTunes rental model, where you can purchase the rental and then you have 30 days to start watching, and 24 hours to finish watching once you do.

They also built Google Books more tightly into the Android Market, putting them front and center with Apps and Movies, allowing you to browse in a more Android-branded way. 

The big announcement as far as services go was clearly Music Beta, the Google equivalent of the Amazon Cloud Locker and Cloud Player. Music Beta is a product that allows individuals to upload their music to Google servers, manage their collection, stream to the web and mobile devices, and sync to their Android devices. It's your music in the cloud, and it's a massively important step for Google. If they produce an iOS app that will allow interaction with the Music Beta service, it will put significant pressure on Amazon, especiallly since they are allowing users to upload 20,000 songs, far and above the Amazon 2GB free limit. 

There were tons of other interesting announcements, from Android @ Home (a platform to allow for home automation) to the Android Open Accessory Development Kit (an open source, Arduino-based hardware spec for interacting with Android devices). 

Really exciting stuff coming out of Google...we'll see how this plays out over the next few months.