Last month, Google announced that it would be ending all legal disputes with French authors and publishers in an effort to bring books to a wider audience. The announcement came following the French Publishers and Author's Associations withdrawal of their suits against Google, and marked a "win-win solution" which opened "the possibility for out-of-print books to reach a wide audience," while maintaining commercial rights for authors.
Following up on that announcement, Google added a post to its European Public Policy Blog today indicating that Google Play Books has officially arrived in France.
On day one of Google I/O, the Play Store team announced an upcoming brand new version of the Android Developer Console - a publishing interface developers use to, you guessed it, publish apps to Google Play. The completely redesigned UI contains improvements based on feedback from the past several years and is fantastic. For further details, hit the link above or just watch this video:
As promised, you can now sign up to be first in line to give the private beta a go by following this url.
If the combination of summer heat and apocalyptic storms have you feeling a little down, Madfinger Games is here to help. Madfinger develops some really killer titles like Shadowgun, Samurai II, and the upcoming Dead Trigger (which was actually supposed to land today, but has been delayed until tomorrow for some last-minute bug fixes). Starting today, you can get Shadowgun and Samurai II on sale for $0.99.
Shadowgun is an amazing third-person shooter with great graphics and surprisingly good voice acting.
One of the new features that ships with Jelly Bean is Google's Sound Search widget that helps identify songs after listening to short samples. If you've ever used SoundHound or Shazam, you know exactly what this does. The difference is this widget is pre-installed on Jelly Bean, comes directly from Google, and hooks right into Google Play.
As it turns out, the widget works on ICS as well. I looked into the package and saw that compatibility goes back as far as Honeycomb, so I'm guessing it will install there too (sorry, no Gingerbread or below).
There were several new announcements today for the Play Store at Google's I/O keynote, which included the arrival of new content. As previously expected, the Play Store now offers TV Shows, magazine subscriptions, and movie purchases.
First off, let's take a look at TV Shows. This is one thing that the Play Store has been missing since day one, so it's nice to see it finally show up. After spending a few minutes looking through the titles, it looks like Google stocked it up with quite a bit of good content.
Hope you've got a large available line of credit for this year's Google I/O, because the big G is not holding back. After we've found leaks of the mysterious orb of powerNexus Q, now Google's device page has shared some more secrets: expensive bookshelf speakers to go along with its new "social streaming media player."
The speakers will only be available in the US initially, and seem to be of a pretty high quality.
Google has done a lot to improve the web version of the Play Store since it was launched, but there has always been one major flaw: one-way comments. Users could leave comments about what is good, bad, or broken about an app, but developers had no way to reply to the comments. Ergo, many developers started to include a disclaimer at the bottom of their listings that states they cannot reply to comments, so users should contact them via email with issues.
The EA titles that went on sale earlier today appear to not be the extent of the deals to be had on Google Play today. Without much warning, the Longest Day sale is underway bringing you a plethora of solid apps, games, music, and books for vastly reduced prices. Longest Days in this case likely refers to the summer solstice; the longest day of the year. For those of you without a calendar handy, that's tomorrow.
Google I/O is coming and it's time to get excited! It's like Christmas in June! It will be here in just a few short agonizing weeks - and we need to prepare. There is background information you need to know, rumors you should have in mind, and past announcements and acquisitions that need to be remembered. Google always leaves little news breadcrumbs for those that pay attention, and I pay attention.