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[Update: Hangouts Is Live! | I/O 2013] Google+ Gets A New Stream, And Hangouts (Read: Babel) Becomes Real, Unifies Messaging Across Android, iOS And The Web

Today, Google announced a new look for the Google+ stream. Gone is the weird, bubbly look that we've had for forever. The cards-centric UI that we've seen on phones and tablets is now coming to the desktop as well. You can select a one, two, or three-column layout and each individual card can flip over with a slick animation and provide more information and options.

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Google's also improving its search and tagging functionality.

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[I/O 2013] Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition: Stock Android 4.2, AT&T and T-Mobile LTE, Sold Through Google Play In June For $650

We heard some last-minute rumors that Samsung's shiny new flagship, not even released in every market, is getting a special Google Edition. Well it's true, boys and girls: the Galaxy S4 Google Edition is real, and it's going to feature the same stock Android experience as Nexus devices. The GS4 Google Edition will be sold through the Google Play Store with the same AT&T and T-Mobile bands as the Nexus 4, plus LTE support.

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[I/O 2013] Google Launches Play Music All Access, Finally Updates The Music App, Combines Your Library With A Subscription

Today, Google brought it's A-game with a subscription service for Play Music. Now, you can pay a $9.99 monthly fee to get unlimited access to a library of music. It also comes with a new, updated Play Music app that doesn't look like complete garbage. There's also a host of features including the ability to turn any track into a radio station.

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The one key way that this service distinguishes itself from other subscription services is that this includes all of your own personal music.

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[I/O 2013] New APIs For Location, Single Sign-On, And Google Cloud Messaging

Right off the bat here at Google I/O, the company is telling developers about some awesome new tools for apps. A new series of APIs will enable a variety of new services for both developers and end users. Here are some of the highlights.

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Version 2 of the Location API, which includes:

  • Geofencing (assigning triggers to specific geographical locations) and up to 100 fences per app

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  • a fused location provider, which should allow for active location gathering at just 1% battery drain per hour or increased accuracy
  • Activity recognition - API can recognize if users are walking, biking, driving, et cetera.
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[I/O 2013] Google Officially Launches Play Games, Brings Achievements, Game Sync, Leaderboards And More

Today, Google announced Google Play game services that brings a suite of new features that game developers can integrate into their titles. The biggest of them is cloud data sync. Game developers can sync their players' progress across devices and platforms. Yes, this feature works on Android and iOS. This is hot.

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In addition to cloud data sync, the suite of services also brings achievements and leaderboards. Any game can now tap into a unified system for showing off your accomplishments.

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[I/O 2013] New Numbers: 900 Million Android Activations Worldwide, 4.5 Billion People Are Now Google's Target

Speaking at Google I/O, Android and Chrome chief Sundar Punchai just let on that there has now been over 900 million device activations. However, Google can't rest on its laurels. In the same breath as the announcement that Google has reached nearly a billion users in just a few years, the company showed off a map of countries where Android has less than 10% penetration. Those countries are green in the map below:

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The message to the rest of the world is clear: Google's on its way to your town, too.

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HP Announces The SlateBook x2, A Transformer Clone Packing A Tegra 4 Processor, Android 4.2, And A 1080p Screen For $480

Hey HP, we know you're new to the Android game, so here's a tip: if you've got a hot new piece of hardware, the absolute worst time to announce it is a few hours before Google I/O. That said, the new SlateBook x2 might garner some interest thanks to its internals alone - it's one of the first devices after NVIDIA's own Shield to use the Tegra 4 SoC. Throw in a 10.1-inch 1920x1200 screen and a very familiar-looking keyboard dock, and you've got the makings of a serious competitor.

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The Galaxy S III Is StraightTalk's First LTE Phone, Available Now For $439.99 - Uses Sprint Network

StraightTalk has become a popular alternative for those who don't need all the bells and whistles of flagship smartphones, or don't want the sometimes ruinous cost of keeping them connected. But even budget carriers move with the times, and the Wal-Mart partner looks like it's finally ready to embrace LTE. The Samsung Galaxy S III is now available for purchase on StraightTalk's website, and should be at your nearest Wal-Mart soon.

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Will A Samsung Galaxy S4 "Google Edition" Be Unveiled At I/O 2013?

Among dedicated Android fans, there is a consensus that stock Android is the best experience. That being said, not everyone is smitten with the Nexus hardware. A new option for conflicted users is rumored to be dropping tomorrow at Google I/O. A version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 – dubbed the Google Edition – could be released with the latest version of stock Android on board.

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If this is indeed true, it wouldn't be the first time Google has created a new variant of a Samsung product.

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The Verge, WSJ: Google Strikes Music Streaming Deal With Sony and Universal, Spotify-Like Service Imminent

On the eve of I/O, Google managed to finalize deals with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment to bring a music subscription service to both YouTube and Google Play, according to a report by The Verge that is now being corroborated by The Wall Street Journal. If everything goes smoothly, a preview or launch of the new service tomorrow isn't out of the question. The Journal similarly says the streaming solution could launch "as soon as this week." That would give Google a substantial leg up over Apple, which is still in the process of negotiating contracts for its own music streaming solution.

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