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Users Can Now Purchase Magazines, Movies, TV Shows in Google Play

Google play Users Can Now Purchase Magazines, Movies, TV Shows in Google PlayDuring the Google sponsored Google I/O Conference, the folks behind Google Play revealed a few new things about Google’s app store. Specifically, the company revealed that people can now buy TV shows, movies and magazines directly from Google Play. Previously, users can only rent videos from Google Play.

With the new functionality of Google Play, purchases are now officially opened to users. For example, for magazines, users can buy individual magazine issues or buy a subscription to receive new issues when it is released. More →

New York Payphones To Be Replaced With Touchscreens

smartpayphone 460x295 New York Payphones To Be Replaced With TouchscreensWhen was the last time you called someone from a phone booth? If it takes you more than five seconds to remember it’s been THAT LONG. Payphones and phone booths are holdovers from a time when mobile phones were not yet widely available (yes, there was such a time, kids). But despite phone booths and payphones being practically obsolete, you still find them in many places all over cities around the world. More →

Zynga Buys Draw Something Developer For $200M

draw something Zynga Buys Draw Something Developer For $200MDraw Something has been a runaway success since it became available for iOS and Android smartphone and tablet users. It has generated the kind of interest and rabid following that Words with Friends generated before.

Zynga, the creators of Words with Friends and other hit games (and arguably the top social gaming developer in the world), knows a hit when it sees it, so instead of developing a Draw Something clone to compete with the hit app, they made the best move they can make – buy the developer of Draw Something. More →

First Impressions of Spotify

spotify 300x208 First Impressions of SpotifyAs many of us music lovers may have realized by now, Spotify has entered the US. Spotify is a DRM-based music streaming service. Spotify, instantly gives me a flashback to my days of Napster. It has similar qualities, although the look is different, and they are also taking a different approach. Spotify requires no downloading, and your favorite song is just a click away. Instantly, I notice some pro’s and cons of using Spotify.

After submitting my email, a few days later I got invite. I am glad that I waited, since I almost immediately purchased the Pro version. I usually like to try out the products I am using before I make any purchase, especially when it comes to music applications. Spotify was an easy download, doesn’t seem to affect my computer too much, and has a nice looking icon that sits in my dock. The design looks like a mixture between old school Napster, and iTunes. Overall, I think it looks good. It is very simple to navigate, and I pretty much picked up on the all features within a few minutes. The best part about Spotify is the immense library they have to offer. You can search virtually any song you can think of, and start  playing instantly. Of course this music is streaming, so you do not worry about download times and taking up space on your computer with large libraries of music. Spotify will actually load all of your music stored in local files as an extenuation of your music listening experience. Very cool! Spotify lets you have your own library and if you are feeling sick of your own music, with the click of a button you can have virtually any song that you like. This makes Spotify a very dynamic music program. More →

Google Music comes to iOS via Safari

google music 300x168 Google Music comes to iOS via SafariGoogle Music is still in its beta and not a lot of people are getting it as yet. It’s not even available in other countries. But the guys at Google still want more people experience what they think may be a game changer in entertainment and cloud computing so they have finally released a version that is compatible with Apple’s iOS.

The new version of Google Music can be accessed on devices that carry iOS. But this is not a completely separate app – the access will go through the Safari browser. This is a mixed bag for some people. Others prefer a separate app so they can access Google servers even without the browser, while others want their access to be done through the browser so they won’t have to install any extraneous apps.

The browser interface actually acts similar to an app. Users can slide between the songs and as a nifty feature, the songs you are playing will continue to do so even when the browser is closed. Of course, browsing through the library and searching for songs can be done through the browser as well.

Google Music is not the first to market with a music streaming service – it already has competition from Spotify and other music streaming services and soon from Apple’s own iCloud service. Google Music has to make unique product decisions to distinguish it from its competitors.

Lo and Behold! Google TV Unveiled

There you go folks. Google has spilled the beans about its latest and grandest plan of conquering our lives. Google has just launched Google TV. This time Google is aiming to bring web contents we enjoy consuming on our computers to the sweetest spot in our homes – those areas where we sit back, relax and enjoy watching TV shows and programs.

But exactly is Google trying to bring in here? It’s not a TV set. It’s not a TV media player but what Google has been known for – software platform. And for Google TV, Google is interweaving the web and TV into a single platform.

Google TV will let us watch contents we enjoy from the web. It has  a built-in search with auto-suggest function, a web browser in Google Chrome, a TV homescreen console, and most importantly it has Android running in the background.

How will Google TV change our viewing habits? And how will it affect commercial TV programs. For our TV viewing habits, Google TV will give us more choices and possibly more TV viewing time. For commercial TV programs, this is like Google hauling competition. Google TV might blur the thin line that separates canned TV programs, to freely available online entertainment content.

So, what’s the big plan? Google is working with Sony and Logitech to bring in Google TV on set-top boxes, Blue-Ray players and other media hardware. Google is also releasing the Google TV SDK and web APIs to let third-party developers create more exciting and fun apps that will run alongside Google TV.

It’s going to be fun and exciting in the next few days. Google TV is certainly going to make waves. And if Apple rocked the tablet world recently, Google will certainly rock the TV world soon as well.

Spotify Becomes More Social

Online music service Spotify has just rolled out several social features which the Spotify folks hope would bring their product into the full mainstream of the still growing social music niche. Spotify version 0.4.3 happens to be one of the largest feature upgrade for the online music service since its inception in 2008.

Kicking off its social features are editable Spotify music profile, ability to publish playlists, top artists and top tracks and a relevant move to connect with Facebook. In addition to its new social features, Spotify is also evolving itself to become a full music management platform by adding the “Library” folder which lets you combine your music library with other Spotify members.

Here’s a brief rundown of the new features of Spotify version 0.4.3:

  • published your Spotify profile on Facebook, blogs or personal website
  • share and publish playlists that you select as you create them
  • one-click subscription to playlists within Spotify or Facebook
  • display subscriber numbers and subscribers’ names in the submenu
  • star tracks or albums or group them into folders
  • drag and drop tracks for recommendation

What’s good about the new Spotify is the fact that you can now import any MP3 on your hard drive to your Spotify library via a link within Spotify pointing to its locaiton on your hard drive. You can also import iTunes playlists into Spotify.

Once you’ve setup your account, you can now start browsing, searching, playing and sharing your whole music library.

Overall, a pretty update that is worth checking out. Do you you Spotify? How do you like these new features?

GetGlue Makes its Services Stickier with New Features

Adaptive Blue has just updated it’s free browser add-on, GetGlue.com with personalized new releases for each user, real-time suggestions, the ability to quickly decide if a book, a movie, or album is for you as well as a new interface.

Let’s take a look at the new features which were just rolled out by GetGlue:

Personalized new releases – GetGlue scans new releases in movies, music, and books and give your the ones that are most relevant to you based on what you have already liked before.  These movies pertain to your favorite genre which could either be a new album from your favorite artists, or even books on particular topic that interests you.

Real time recommendations – GetGlue automatically updates your recommended movies, music and books everytime you encountered new releases. You can quickly browse through these list by clicking on the “Recommended” filter.

Things you’ve already liked – GetGlue shows you similar things that you’ve already liked while you visit a movie, an album or a book on GetGlue.com or anywhere on the web. It also shows you reviews and liked items by your friends, neighbors and the entire GetGlue community who have similar tastes as you.

New activity streams - GetGlue’s new activity streams compress daily activities of various users. This gives you the ability to explore more items from these activity streams.

New interface - Finally, GetGlue has also redesigned the site’s overall interface – now bigger, shiner, simpler and definitely more fun.

So, there. Are you using GetGlue? Do you like the new features so far?

Oprah Mobile Goes Live on Android, iPhone, BlackBerry and Palm Pre

oprah mobile app article 300x318 283x300 Oprah Mobile Goes Live on Android, iPhone, BlackBerry and Palm PreAre you a fan of Oprah? Well, now you can check out your fans whereabouts as well as connect with her whenever and wherever through Oprah Mobile. Developed by Hands-on Mobile, Inc. Oprah Mobile is a suite of mobile applications that you can use whether you have an iPhone, Android phone, Palm Pre or BlackBerry.

Oprah Mobile will let you access video clips and previews of  The Ophra Winfrey Show as well as quickly find out what time and channel the show is playing in your current location anywhere within the U.S. The app also lets you participate in exclusive weekly polls, listen to audio clips, read articles and view photo galleries and highlights from Oprah.com, the Oprah magazine and Oprah Radio. Yes, even keep with up Oprah’s tweets.

Additionally,  if you’re keeping an eye on show tickets, the app can also alert you whenever these become available. And for its social sharing features, Oprah Mobile also lets you share your favorite items via email, Facebook and Twitter, search by guests and contributors, sign the pledge to make your car a No Phone Zone and customize the menu to keep your favorite sections with easy and quick reach.

Excited about this app? Get it for your iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm Pre or  search for it from the Android Market on your Android phone.

iPad e-Books Pricing to Compete Competitively Against Kindle

iBook 490x367 iPad e Books Pricing to Compete Competitively Against Kindle

When the issue on the e-books pricing of those who will be in the iPad’s iBookstore started spreading, many are saying that it will be to Amazon’s advantage.  The Kindle Store’s average price for an e-book is pegged at $9.99 and Amazon is even sacrificing some sales just to maintain this pricing even at a loss for them.

Analysts are saying that the iBookstore will not be able to compete against this pricing and that e-books to be sold will be priced higher than the e-books sold in the Kindle Store.

That may not be necessarily true at all.  The blog AppAdvice got hold of a preview that shows otherwise. It seems that most e-books that will be sold in the iBookstore  are also priced at $9.99. In fact, out of the 32 e-books that were on the New York Time’s Bestsellers, 27 titles have $9.99 price tag.

In fact 4 of  the top 5 bestsellers will be sold in the iBookstore for $9.99.

If the iBookstore will be able maintain this price ceilings for most of the books that will be made available once the iPad is launched, Amazon is definitely facing a stiff challenge to their well established and widely accepted e-book business.  Indeed Amazon has all the reason to be worried and should start working on various enhancements to the Kindle store as well possibly on the Kindle device as well.  But except for the lack of color display and other computing functionalities, I think Amazon may have already exhausted all possible features that it could probably include in the Kindle.

So, will you be buying the iPad and use it as an e-book reader and purchase your e-books from the iBookstore? Or will you use the Kindle App for Tablets which will also run in the iPad and purchase your e-books from the Amazon Kindle Store still?