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Google launches music service for smartphones

The debut came at the kickoff of a developers conference, featuring improvements to the internet giant's products.

Last Modified: 16 May 2013 20:17
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Google Play All Access combines its music catalogue with users' personal collections [AFP]

Google on Wednesday rolled out a music service for smartphones and tablets powered by its free Android software, in a challenge to streaming radio firms such as Pandora and Spotify.

The launch of Google Play All Access came at the kickoff of a packed developers conference, which features a range of improvements to the Internet giant's products. Google share prices also jumped to a new all-time high on Wednesday, topping $900 for the first time.

The music service combines the Internet giant's music catalogue with users' personal collections in a radio station-style subscription service, according to Android engineering director Chris Yerga.

"Anything I am listening to in All Access I can easily turn into a radio station," Yerga said while unveiling the service at the annual Google developers conference in San Francisco.

All Access launched in the United States with a monthly subscription fee of $10 and will roll out to additional countries "soon," according to Yerga.

The California-based firm was offering discounts to those who sign up quickly for the service.

Page's diagnosis

The event also saw a surprise appearance by chief executive Larry Page.

"We are here because we share a deep sense of optimism about the potential for technology to improve people lives," said Page, taking the stage to applause a day after disclosing he had been diagnosed with partially paralysed vocal cords.

Page appeared calm and confident on stage and spent a half-hour fielding questions from some of the 6,000 developers registered for the annual event.

Page capped an hours-long keynote presentation that updated ranks of software developers, along with more than a million people watching on YouTube and at viewing parties, about improvements to maps, Android, Chrome and more.

The number of Android smartphones and tablets activated more than doubled to 900 million in the past year, according to Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Android and Chrome.

Google's Android mobile operating system grabbed three out of four smartphones sold in the world in the first quarter of 2013, extending its gains over Apple and its iPhone, a survey showed.

Executive Vic Gundotra took the keynote stage to introduce major upgrades to the Google Plus social network that included move lively pages and automated tools that automatically bring out the best in uploaded photos.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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