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As part of today's Google I/O keynote, Google debuted its upgraded Music product. Under the Google Play naming scheme, Google Play Music All Access provides unlimited streaming via the web and up to 10 authorized devices for just $9.99 per month, the same fee as charged by Spotify. Better yet, if you sign up for the free 30-day trial before June 7, the monthly charge will be just $7.99.
As you can see above, I've already signed up for the service. It's important to note that the service is only currently available in the United States. I've also been unable to get All Access working on my iPhone via Google's web app. In order to compete directly with Spotify, Google will need to develop a desktop app and an iOS app.
During Gogole's keynote at Google I/O today, the company showed off a new version of Google Maps. The new Maps features a completely redesigned interface, along with numerous new features. For instance, Maps will now know more about a user and use that information to help with location discovery.
Maps will now integrate imagery from all of Google's different products into a single location. This means Earth, Street View, and other projects, such as undersea and space imaging, will all be available through the Maps product. This means Photo Spheres will now be included and these cool images can be added to Maps by anyone.
If you'd like to get a chance to try out the new Maps before others, head on over to the page Google has set up for previewing. There you can request an invite to be one of the first to use the new Maps product.
Just hours before Google I/O begins and we go all Google crazy for days on end, a new look Google Maps for desktop has been unveiled by Droid-Life. The site noticed a description on the revised Maps landing page that reveals we should expect a "tailored map for every search".
Not only that, but we should expect a new user interface (UI) which features the same kind of look as Google's recent mobile apps, a WebGL-powered overhead views borrowed from Google Earth, Flight Search integration, and the ability to compare multiple modes of transportation on the map itself. We should also expect some Google Now-like interactions such as your map suggesting restaurants you might enjoy on your way to your destinatiojn.
Microsoft has gone and added Gchat support to Outlook.com and Skydrive.com. Users who are logged into their Microsoft account on Outlook.com or Skydrive.com will gain the ability to chat with their Google contacts over the next few days. This comes at an interesting time as Google is rumored to be launching its unified Babel chat platform at Google I/O, which kicks off tomorrow.
It's rather interesting to see Microsoft build in support for a competitor's product, especially such a fierce competitor as Google. However, they say that they heard customers wanted support for Google Talk. Currently, video and voice isn't supported. Microsoft's Dharmesh Mehta says, "If it turns out a lot of people want the voice and video with Google, that's certainly something we'll go talk to them about."
It's nice to see a company working with a competitor to make their own product better for the consumer. Microsoft is still working on increasing its public image, and this is probably part of that push.
Google is well-known for hiding Easter eggs in its search engine. For instance, typing "do a barrel" into the all-knowing Google search bar will result in the whole web page doing a barrel roll. The latest Easter egg to be discovered celebrates Atari's classic game, Breakout.
To initialize the latest Easter egg, simply do a Google Image Search for "Atari Breakout." This will cause the game to start. Simply control the platform with your mouse to bounce the ball and destroy the pictures of, you guessed it, Breakout. Successfully beating that level will result in more levels generating with random pictures.
Bloomberg TV recently interviewed John Wiley and found some incredible statistics. Wiley, the lead designer for Google Search, says that each and every day, Google sees an average of 500 million search queries that it has never seen before. These queries make up roughly 15 percent of the daily search volume.
To keep up with ever-changing queries and websites, Google crawls 20 billion web sites per day, an impressive feat. To help combat these unseen queries, Google is working on its Knowledge Graph product. Wiley says that Knowledge Graph has an incredible 530 million entries and 18 billion facts about connections between the entries.
Google has decided to lump all of your free storage into one plan. Instead of having a separate 10GB of data for Gmail and Google+ and 5GB for Drive, users will be presented with 15GB that can be used in any combination. Don't have a lot of e-mail saved? You now have more room for your cloud storage needs.
Conversely, if you don't use Gmail at all, you have just been given an extra 10GB of storage space to use for Google Drive. Google's Drive page now features a visualization of how much space you are using next to available upgrade plans. The changes will roll out to users and Google Apps users over the next few weeks, so don't worry if you don't have the change quite yet.
We want to hear your thoughts on this change. Let us know what you think in the comments!
Google is teasing Chrome developers ahead of this year's I/O. Posted to the Google Chrome Developers' Google+ page, the picture simply shows a pallet of boxes with the caption, "Boom. Chrome swag has arrived. #io13" Of course, there is no way to tell what's inside, though we can tell you what Google has given away before.
Previous Google I/O's have seen attendees getting everything from smartphones to tablets and notebook PCs. It could be the rumored upgraded Nexus 7 or simply shirts, though it's much more likely to be the former. We shouldn't have to wait too much longer to find out what is actually inside those boxes as Google I/O takes place next week.
Apple has rolled out its new two-step verification process to several new countries. Now Apple users in Canada, Argentina, Mexico, Germany Netherlands, Russia, Austria, Brazil, Belgium, Portugal, Italy, and Poland have access to the feature that will ultimately make their Apple ID much more secure.
Two-step authentication is often thought of as a holy grail for security. Instead of just requiring a password to log in on an unidentified device, websites will send a code to an e-mail, mobile phone, or other piece of technology that must then be entered. This makes phishing much harder to do successfully.
Users are required to opt-in to the two-factor verification and are greatly encouraged to do so. Users can find out more about Apple's two-step verification here.
Google's cloud storage system known as Drive experienced a bug earlier today. Some users reported that their list of documents, spreadsheets, and other synced files were blank. Many hearts collectively sank as they thought that their files were gone for good. However, it turned out that the files were still available locally, if synced to their computer, and could be found using the search bar.
Google quickly resolved the issue, but it still brings up the interesting question about cloud storage and file security. What would these users have done had they actually lost all of their files? What could have been done by Google to fix the problem or right the wrong? One tip that can be provided is always have your file in at least two separate locations.
12pm PST: We're investigating reports of an issue with Google Drive. We will provide more information shortly.
12:12pm PST: The problem with Google Drive should be resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better.