Some interesting things to know on the eve of Google I/O

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Google I/O starts tomorrow – we’ll be streaming and live-blogging the keynote tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. (Pacific) – and of course we’ve been hearing all kinds of last minute news and leaks leading up to Google’s biggest event of the year. Here are the most interesting recent developments that you should know about.

Google will launch a streaming music service ala Spotify this week.

According to both The Verge and the Wall Street Journal, Google will announce a streaming music service similar to Spotify tomorrow during the Google I/O keynote. This comes after Google finally completed separate licensing deals with both Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, the two largest record labels in the industry. Earlier this year, Google also signed another licensing deal with Warner Music Group, the third largest label. This will finally put Google on a level playing field with competing services, and also put Google one step ahead of Apple, who hasn’t been able to finalize agreements with the three big labels yet.

The new streaming music service will reportedly be available both on YouTube and Google Play.

Don’t expect any Nexus Q news this year.

At last year’s Google I/O, the Nexus Q was announced. Billed as “the first social streaming media player,” Google quickly realized it wasn’t quite ready for primetime yet, halted new orders, and sent early adopters the device for free with the promise that engineers and developers would work on it to make it better.

Now, a year has passed, and many people were hopeful about the product being reintroduced at this years Google I/O – perhaps even merged with Google TV somehow. Unfortunately, AllThingsD is reporting that there will be absolutely no news of the Nexus Q’s fate this year, according to “sources familiar with the matter.”

What this means is anyone’s guess. It’s possible that Google has completely abandoned development on the device all together, or it’s possible that it just needs another year to iron out all the kinks. After all, with so many resources being poured into products like Chrome OS, Google Glass, and Google+, engineers might not have all the time they need to focus on something like the Nexus Q. We’ll have to see.

Google Talk is coming to Outlook.com.

While not directly related to Google I/O, it’s very interesting that Outlook has announced that Google Talk will come to Outlook.com – especially since we’re expecting Google to announce a new chat service called Hangouts that will take the place of Google Talk, presumably with a new API.

Currently, only text chat is supported, so there’s no voice or video calling.

Some conspiracy theorists think that Microsoft has implemented this new feature in Outlook on the premise that it will break if and when Google announces the new service and the new APIs. How convenient it would be for Microsoft to claim that it’s been “scroogled” itself, when in reality it would just be a bad publicity stunt aimed at harming Google’s reputation.

I don’t think this is case, and even if it were, I think we’re all smarter than that. To be honest, I’m not sure what to make of it, but the timing sure does seem fishy. We’ll have to wait and see if anything else comes of this.

There are other items we’ve already talked about, too.

There’s the new Nexus 7. There’s the fact that it looks like Google’s main focus this year will be on software and development, rather than hardware (obviously, we’ll still see some new hardware). And then there are all my predictions, too (it seems several already look very possible).

I don’t know about you, but I’m so excited, I’m going to have a hard time sleeping tonight!

[The Verge: 1, 2 | The Wall Street Journal | AllThingsD | Google+]

Don’t forget to watch our live coverage of the keynote tomorrow (both streaming and a live blog) at pocketables.com/io!

 

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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

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