Google Announces Web Music Service, Movie Rentals and More

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The company is working with big-name wireless players “to adopt guidelines for how quickly devices are updated after a new platform release, and also for how long they will continue to be updated.” Here’s more:

“The founding partners are Verizon, HTC, Samsung, Sprint, Sony Ericsson, LG, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Motorola and AT&T, and we welcome others to join us. To start, we’re jointly announcing that new devices from participating partners will receive the latest Android platform upgrades for 18 months after the device is first released, as long as the hardware allows.”

That’s good news for Android users. Seeing that most of us are stuck with the same phone for at least two years, these guidelines would ensure that we’d get the latest Android software in a timely manner. People have accused the carriers of dragging their feet on Android updates in order to get people to buy new phones instead, so this will hopefully put a stop to that.

Android Open Accessory and Android@Home Initiatives

Finally, some very cool technology was demonstrated that tied Android devices to other items we use every day.

The Android Open Accessory initiative provides a way for anyone to build something that can interface with an Android phone or tablet.

bike

Google demonstrated an exercise bike that could communicate with an Android phone. You’d have different workout apps on the phone that would communicate with the bike to relay calorie counts, workout regimens and stuff like that.

And the Android@Home initiative “allows Android apps to discover, connect and communicate with appliances and devices in your home.” Google has partnered with a manufacturer of LED lightbulbs that have the technology built right into them, so we may see those hit the market by the end of the year. You’d be able to control these lightbulbs from your phone or tablet.

Google is also extending Android@Home into a music-based offering called Project Tungsten. You’d have a little Web-connected box that would plug into sets of speakers around your house, and you could stream music to different rooms from your phone or tablet — using Google Music, of course.

CD

Google even showed a cool proof-of-concept demo where you’d tap an RFID-enabled CD case against a Project Tungsten box and all the tracks on that CD would become available in your Google Music library for instant streaming. Google would have to get the music industry on board with this — which could take forever — but I’m guessing the industry wouldn’t mind trying to sell a few more CDs, so it just might act on the idea.

More on TIME.com: Live Blog: Google’s 2011 Developer Conference Keynote

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