The conference runs throughout Friday and lots of the announcements are geared toward developers, but here are some of the more newsworthy bits so far today:
- Google debuted a subscription-based streaming music service called Google Play Music All Access, officially taking on companies like Spotify, Rdio, Pandora and Rhapsody. The service, which lets you play millions of songs instantly and turn any song into a radio station, will cost $9.99/month after a 30-day free trial. However, if you activate the free trial before June 30, you can get the service for $7.99/month. Google has already signed the three largest record labels as part of this announcement.
- Also unveiled today was Google Play Game Services, which will directly compete with Apple’s Game Center. The service is integrated with Google+ will allow for multiplayer gaming, leaderboards, saving in the cloud and achievements, all of which will work across Android, iOS and the web. A software development kit is available to developers today.
- Google will soon offer an unlocked version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 for $649. The unique part about the phone is that it can run Jelly Bean 4.2, marking the first time you can get a Nexus-like experience on a non-Nexus device. The phone will support LTE networks on T-Mobile and AT&T.
- There are 41 new features coming to Google+, including a sleek new interface that mimics Pinterest, some new snazzy photo editing capabilities, and a revamped Hangouts/messaging platform.
- Google’s voice search feature got a whole lot smarter. Chrome is getting a “conversational search,” option that allows users to simply say “OK Google,” to activate searches, which can be personalized based on your information and location. Google Now also received some new updates.
- Google announced that there are now 900 million Android-activated devices, which Google’s Sundar Pichai called “an extraordinary achievement.” There were 100 million activations in 2011 and that grew to 400 million activations in 2012. Google also said that Android users have installed more than 48 billion apps, and in just the last two months, users installed 2.5 billion apps.
- Android is also advancing its foray into education with something called Google Play for Education that’s launching this fall. It will offer apps specifically for students and educators.
- Google also unveiled several new features for developers, including new API. Developers in attendance also received free Chromebook Pixels.
And as all this is happening, Google’s stock today topped $900 for the first time ever. This comes just three months after the stock hit $800.
We’ll update this post as the conference continues today.