Google Play for Education, unveiled during Google I/O, is a program to get Nexus tablets into the hands of students and provide a curated app store offering content to fill those tablets with. Google released a video today aimed at the developers who may someday produce the apps that will eventually populate their store. It's also an interesting watch for educators curious about what technology may soon enter their classrooms and parents tired of their children learning on iPads (assuming their classrooms have tablets at all).
As I was digging through the latest build of Google Play Music, I noticed something strange: lots and lots of YouTube stuff. "That's odd," I thought, "What does YouTube have to do with Play Music?"
Oh, right, music videos!
Sure enough, there's some fairly revealing text included, too:
<string name="finding_videos_for_track">Finding related videos for the track...</string>
<string name="no_videos_for_track">No videos found for the track.</string>
<string name="youtube_video_details_hd">%1$s | %2$,d views | HD</string>
<string name="youtube_video_details_nonhd">%1$s | %2$,d views</string>
While listening to music, you'll be able to tell Play Music to hunt down the YouTube video for that song.
Let it be not be said that Google neglected the Google TV platform today at I/O. Though it wasn't mentioned during this morning's 3 hour-plus keynote, the company rolled out a new version of the YouTube app for TV during the presentation.
Specifically, the updated application brings a simplified UI, enhanced video playback controls, and support for paid channels. The video discovery and subscription tabs now show playlists with blown-up video thumbnails and bolded titles for easier browsing.
It should come as no surprise that after attracting millions of content creators and billions of viewers, Google is developing new ways of monetizing YouTube. Starting today, the company is introducing a pilot program for a select group of partners. These contributors are offering paid channels with subscription fees starting at 99 cents per month. Each channel comes with a 14-day free trial, and some include discounted yearly rates, which is very similar to how Google offers magazines in the Play Store.
The final piece of the Play Store 4.0 puzzle was posted on Google+ today. A YouTube employee by the name of Eileen Rivera posted a screen shot of previously-unseen Play Store front page:
The design is a perfect match for the leaked build we got to play with a few weeks ago, and, if you ignore the action bar, a big improvement.
Of particular interest is the new Up button, which features the Play Store logo and a bone in a dog bowl.
Today, Google rolled out an update to the YouTube app (v4.4.11) that will allow frequent users to get easier access to their favorite content producers with the 'My Subscriptions' feed. In the slide-out panel on the left side of your device, you can now tap on this section to get a list of all the most recent videos from your favorite directors in one place.
Additionally, channels that have signed up for One Channel, which allows more customization of your channel and a better branding experience, will now see their tweaks within the app.
YouTube announced something fairly incredible yesterday: it now has more than 1 billion unique visitors to the site every single month. That's a LOT of people, almost half of everybody around the world with internet access, in fact.
What's even more interesting is how people are reaching the site. A post on Google's AdWords Agency blog took a look at how the current generation, or 'Generation C', accesses content on YouTube, and found that a lot of the traffic is coming from smartphones, as opposed to traditional PCs.
As we get closer and closer to Google I/O, speculation inevitably ramps up about what Mountain View will be unveiling this year to set the Android world on fire. The most likely plans involve boosting Play Store features and availability, given the recent push not only to expand into new countries, but to frame the Nexus line as a great content consumption platform. If Fortune is right, then Google may have a huge axe to swing in that battle with not one, but two different subscription music services coming soon.
Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal suggested that Google is in talks with record labels to start its own Spotify-like music streaming service. In the same article, the newsgroup also reported that El Goog is looking to do something similar with YouTube, and launch pay-to-view channels, though no specific details past that were given. Now, some code found in the most recent YouTube app update basically confirms the service is on its way:
<string name="paid_channel_subscribe_message">You can only subscribe to this paid channel on your computer.</string>
<string name="paid_channel_unsubscribe_message">You can only unsubscribe from this paid channel on your computer.</string>
And there it is, in just a few simple words: "You can only subscribe/unsubscribe from this paid channel on your computer." While it's still very unclear exactly what this means, it does confirm that the previous rumors are legit.