Feb 01 AT 12:42 AM Taylor Wimberly 41 Comments

Rumor: Google to unveil browser-based Android Market with Google Music cloud services on Wednesday

Google is holding a special event for the press on Wednesday which includes “an in-depth look at Honeycomb, Android ecosystem news, and hands-on demos.” We knew right away that the hands-on demos would be with the Motorola Xoom tablet, but the “ecosystem news” sounded a little vague so we did some digging. After talking with several of our regular sources we have a pretty good idea of what might be in store for Android fans. Check out the full rumor report after the jump.

The Rumor

Google has finally completed its web-based Android Market and they will reveal it at their Honeycomb press event on Wednesday. The online Market is said to be “on par with that of the Apple App Store or even better.”

The Source

This tip came from a regular source who has provided accurate information on Sprint in the past. As with most people that hand over sensitive information, he wishes to remain anonymous.

One Android Insider’s take on the rumor

I wouldn’t be printing this rumor unless I thought there was some truth behind it.  Keep in mind that this is just a rumor, so don’t take it to be the final word on what could happen this Wednesday. It seems pretty obvious that the new Android Market is coming sometime soon, but let’s review what we know already.

Google showed off the web-based Android Market and Google Music services during the last Google I/O, back in May 2010. “It’s called the Android Market, because it’s more than apps, ” said Vic Gundotra as he described the new features that Google had been working on.

Android Market

A preview of the online Android Market shown during Google I/O 2010.

They demoed both services on a Nexus One running Android 2.2 and said they would be available in a future version of the mobile OS. Half a year later we are still waiting on these new features and now Google is about to provide an in-depth look at Android 3.0 this week.

It’s not very often that Google holds these types of events, so you know that something big is going to drop for them to invite everyone to their headquarters.

Another possible hint appeared in a recent BusinessWeek story titled Larry Page’s Google 3.0. In the article it was revealed that Andy Rubin took over the leadership of Google’s digital music project and he was working with former YouTube lawyer, Zahavah Levine, to secure the needed licenses from the four major music labels.

According to three people familiar with Google’s plans, Andy Rubin’s team has “developed a service that will let users upload their music collections to Google’s servers and then synchronize them with any mobile device.” The service is widely believed to have been completed, with only the lawyers holding it up.

The same BusinessWeek report, which was published on January 26th, said that a deal was almost done and “the offering could be unveiled as soon as next month.” Representatives from the music labels said that no deals had been signed with Google, but something might have finally gone down this past Friday before Google sent out their event invites to the press.

Android platform group manager Eric Chu also alluded to the upcoming changes during a session at the Inside Social Apps conference last week. “Helping developers monetize is very important to us,” Chu said.

He told the audience that Google was “not happy” with the number of app purchases, but changes to the Android Market were on the way. Mr. Chu did not dive into specific details or provide any time frames, but said that Google’s roadmap included enhancements to carrier billing, in-app payments, improved discovery of apps, and taking advantage of “the best social graph” – the Android address book.

We were told time and time again at CES that Honeycomb was not completely finished and more surprises were on the way. This Android Market upgrade has been a long time in coming, so what better time to roll it out than with the release of Android 3.0?

What do you think Google has in store for their special event on Wednesday? Will they unveil another secret project and surprise the media?

Bonus video: Google will be broadcasting their Honeycomb event live on the web at youtube.com/android, but check out the following clip for a sneak preview of what the web-based Android Market could look like.


Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • GuniGuGu

    Digging this a lot, really curious to see how it’s all executed.. but I still have concerns about the really long download time for big game downloads to mobile devices which is alleviated by iTunes and it’s ability to sync direct to the handset over cable…

    Also one other qualm I have thats annoying me is apps I install / uninstall leaving folders on my SD card and all over the place on the card too… not just in the /data on sd, but some are on root, some are under a publishers folder.. it’s getting very messy.

    • http://Website Adam

      I agree too!

      I hate that android are doing same thing windows are doing!

    • http://Website AdamJ

      What’s the difference between downloading an app with itunes on wifi compared to downloading directly to your phone over wifi? Apart from one being a lot easier.

      • http://Website Eric

        “apart from one being a lot easier”

        You answered it yourself. Just like fast web installer on appbrain, it was just so easy.

        • http://Website MaRsHmElLoW
        • http://Website FDR

          Yep. And this is a big deal in terms of converting people to Android, as opposed to anything else. Fact is, the average user wants ‘simple’…as in the old Mac claim, ‘It just works’. True or not, people eat up that kind of soothing talk.

          Of course, ‘simple’ is a subjective judgement; what’s simple for you might be difficult for me. But, let’s face it, any kind of pure software transfer mechanism just *has* to be simpler than (1) rigging a wire and (2) navigating a bunch of menus…for most folks, anyway. Likewise, hooking a Droid to my Mac is not a seamless experience. :-P

          For example: younger guys might be surprised how many die-hard Windows Mobile fans would *kill* to have a phone with infrared data-transfer (!), like in the ’90s. To them, usb hookup is a step backward. And every one of those WM fans we bring over to Android means another dev becomes more interested in building Android apps. Win-win. :)

      • http://Website FDR

        Let’s turn the question around. You tell me…how is using a utility like ‘Awesome Drop’ different from just hooking up your phone for a series of drag & drop usb transfers?


  • http://Website Kenneth Pennington

    Really looking forward to these improvements. Android needs to court developers… this is going to help big time.

  • http://Website Deathvalley

    Hopefully they do have the music cloud because that would be so amazing because mp3tunes just isn’t doing it for me.

  • http://www.trackaroo.com Jeff

    Hope this is true! Verizon iPhone pre-orders start Thursday. Coincidence? New Android Market, Music, Honeycomb and more announced the day before to make people think twice?

  • http://Website Peter

    @GuniGuGu Before 2.2 it wasn’t possible to have files removed automatically on uninstall. It is now but it will probably take a while to filter out. Kinda lame not to have it in the first place.

    @KennethPennington Google is doing a poor job of courting developers as it is.


    A lot of devs are probably going to be pissed. What chance do independent devs have competing against Google?

    As for a website for the Market,about freaking time.

    • GuniGuGu

      ahh.. interesting note about apps being able to remove files off SD card did not know that before, still would be better if the dropped all their data under a consistent structure like /data.

    • http://Website Dags

      I disagree. Having quality apps in the Market made by Google helps the Market as a whole. It makes Android more attractive to consumers which in turn grows the Market and makes it more lucrative to all developers.

      • http://Website FDR


        I’ve spoken with lots of people who switched to Android specifically because they know it makes for a better Google experience. In other words, IT’S A BIG DEAL.

        And flip that around: how many people would shun the iPhone, if Google suddenly turned off the Google Apps hose to that platform? Trust me; IT’S A BIG DEAL.

        Ever wade through an Mac users’ forum? One thing they whine about consistently is how Google waits awhile before putting their iPhone apps on par with their Android apps. Lots of conspiracy theories, plus a little soul-searching, and some pistol-waving, too. It’s a bit like watching southerners talk about Abe Lincoln, circa 1862. ;)

  • http://Website bemymonkey

    All my music in the cloud, huh? Hope they offer lots and lots of space in addition to transcoding (my collection is almost entirely FLAC) when streaming…

  • Gone

    I have a feeling this event is gonna be HUGE for Android, I am excited!!!!

  • http://Website k_myk

    Maybe we can have N1 Gingerbread for the desert? :>

    Looking forward to tomorrow event:3

    • http://Website Adam

      Surely you wouldn’t get very good signal in the desert?!

  • http://Website KingL

    Web based Market and Music streaming is something that i would LOVE to see. I hate iTunes and refuse to buy music from there but it is a convenient place to store music i suppose. If big G give me another option then I’m all over it like a sex pest in the playboy mansion!!!!!

  • http://www.thechromesource.com Daniel Cawrey

    At first I surprised to read about this web-based market after hearing the reports that Google will migrate towards native apps for Android, but this does make sense. The music service they have been working on is web-based, as is most of their other current services. This also allows for better integration with Google TV since that platform uses Chrome… but who really knows what’s up their sleeve for tomorrow? Going to be exciting to watch, that’s for sure.

    • http://Website Randy A

      Google would love for everyone to use web apps on their phones but given the limitations compared to native apps that isn’t going to happen any time soon. If Google dropped native Gmail for browser only on my phone I am gone. Simple. Google wants what they want, but apps are going to be around for a very long time.

    • http://Website fangorious

      The web-based market means you have apps automatically pushed to your phone by browsing the market from your desktop browser. It will be Google’s own version of appbrain.com.

    • http://Website FDR

      No, no, no. It’s not so much that they want to ‘migrate towards native apps for Android’, as in crowding out 3rd-party devs. Not in every category, at least. It’s more like making sure their native apps remain atop their (relatively few) respective categories. That’s a critical issue in terms of attracting customers.

      Native Google Apps support is a big reason why so many people switched to Android phones, during the past year or so. I know several guys who are absolutely crazy about their iPhones but also envy – or, in some cases, went out and bought – Android phones, simply because they work so much better with Gmail or whatever.

  • http://Website dagamer34

    Simple fact is this, the only way to discover Android apps was on your phone. There was no desktop experience. No way to share links. And it sucked. Hard.

    The Android Market also needs some improvements, but that’s for another time.

    • http://Website Dags

      What about Appbrain? Android Zoom? There’s other ways – that work well – than those provided by Google. Android is not like iOS where you can only use what Apple give you.

      • http://Website Peter

        Maybe not but look what happened when AppBrain let users install apps from the web. Google killed it and we are still waiting for them to provide an alternative.

  • http://vonroon.net Henning

    This sounds really interesting!!! Some nice digging you guys did here

  • http://Website Ryan

    What will the Google music service offer than AudioGalaxy doesn’t? Guess I’m struggling to see the appeal.

    • http://Website Anshul

      AudioGalaxy doesn’t have a client for anything but Android (none for Windows or Mac), I think that’s going to be the main difference as far as usability is concerned.

  • http://Website Charlotte

    Looking forward to what happens tomorrow because frankly, these market improvements are long overdue. Thanks for the rumors androidandme.

  • http://Website Mast3rShake

    So buy Google at $600 a share or pass?

  • http://Website DgDeBx

    Vic Gundotra FTW!

  • http://Website Daniel

    A web-based Market means absolutely nothing to me (and many other Android fans) until Google starts making paid apps available in more countries.

    • http://Website FDR


      Well, maybe not nothing…but little or nothing.

      The only thing I’d very much like to see in a browser-based Android Market is a way for devs to post YouTube demos. And I mean a simple, consistent execution (ie: a dedicated location or css framework)…not just a crappy link shoved who-knows-where in the app description. Static demo images aren’t cutting it and this is only going to worsen as apps grow to take advantage of new, more powerful handsets.

  • http://Website Anshul

    The music service they are talking about is a relaunch of a service they bought from SimplifyMedia, a service that let you stream music from your home computer very seamlessly, and it integrated very easily with iTunes. I used to use it a lot until it got shut down because Google bought it. Hopefully they retain all the features, because it really was a blessing to not have to carry your music collection everywhere and still be able to listen to it with excellent quality and reliability.

  • http://Website Sid

    I’m really tired of waiting for the gingerbread OTA for my Nexus One. I’m hoping google updates the Nexus One directly to Honeycomb (provided there actually is a phone version of the same).

    • http://Website paul

      ROOT!!! I’ve had it for weeks

      • http://Website Peter

        The whole point of the Nexus One was not having to root it to get updates on time. So much for using stock Android leading to quick updates.

  • http://Website JERRY

    If Google want to Google Music and Android Market to be successful. They should have these 2 services work hand in hand with ADWORDS/ADSENSE.

    Let’s say you’re running a music blog and you have a lot of readers. When you suggest a song, why not suggest a Google Music link because you will get a percentage of the revenue. They should do the same for Android market, I ‘m sure sites like Android and me would make a killing. It would also increase awareness of paid apps since blogs like AndroidANDMe would have more posts about paid apps.

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