updated 04:40 pm EDT, Thu May 20, 2010
Google to send, share music over web
Google as part of its Android 2.2 rollout surprised conference goers by revealing that its new OS would have a music store. The new sub-section of Android Market works on the web and would let phone owners buy music from the web that then lands on the phone. Since Android 2.2 can be told what to do through push notices, they never have to physically sync to get new purchases, Google said.
Very few details were given about the service itself, including whether it's entirely Google's own, an aggregator or relying on an outside partner; Amazon MP3 usually provides music sales on Android devices themselves. Labels weren't mentioned, nor was pricing.
As part of the stronger music focus, Google added that it had quietly bought out Simplify Media and had already put its features to work for Android. All 2.2 devices will have the option of streaming audio from a home media collection through an updated version of Simplify's companion app. The addition now lets Android phones overcome low storage by giving access to an entire home computer's audio collection, including from iTunes or Windows Media Player.
Simplify had told users in March that it had pulled its media streaming apps from the iPhone's App Store, but at the time it had kept the buyout by Google and its mobile plans a secret. It's now known that the company had been recruited by Google and has been spending the three months integrating its features into Android.
Both the store and the media sharing features further reinforce Google's new focus on Apple. It has positioned itself as an open and more Internet-aware alternative to Apple but has simultaneously been aiming at a more vertically integrated experience where it has its own services, not just partners.
An example of pushing "intents" to an Android device: apps, commands and music can be sent from the web when signed into a Google account.