Google I/O: New maps app, tools for devs, and a Google Galaxy S4

A roundup of news from the first day of the Google I/O developers conference. 

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    Google is unveiling its own version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone.
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Wednesday is the first day of the 2013 Google I/O developers conference, the marquee event that Google typically uses to unveil new products. We've already discussed one new development to come out of the San Francisco-based confab: A Spotify-like music streaming subscription service called All Access, which will allow users access to a trove of millions of songs for ten bucks a month. But what else does Google have up its sleeve? 

Well, for one, there's the new Google-branded Samsung Galaxy S4 – a smart phone, Google says, that will use the same user interface as the Nexus line of devices (see photo above). The Google S4 will be available starting on June 26, through the Google Play store. The device will work on both T-Mobile and AT&T networks, and retail unlocked for $649. 

"This is Google’s take on Android, and it feels really awesome on the Galaxy S4," Hugo Barra, vice president of product management for Android, said at I/O, according to the New York Times

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Also of note: A new, hyper-personalized Google Maps. Once the rejiggered software is live (right now, you'll need to request an invite), you'll be able to set home and work locations, along with particularly beloved haunts; Google will then build customized maps just for you, and offer recommendations (again, based on previous input) of places to stop in at along the way. 

"Like a friend drawing you a map to her favorite restaurant, with only the roads and landmarks you need to get there, the new Google Maps instantly changes to highlight information that matters most," Bernhard Seefeld and Yatin Chawathe wrote on the Google Maps blog. "And the more you interact with the map, the better it gets." 

Lastly, it's worth highlighting Google Play game services, a suite of tools that Google says will help developers make their "games more social, with achievements, leaderboards, and multiplayer, as well as more powerful, storing game saves and settings in the cloud." To that end, there is a tool that allows users to carry their profile from one game to the next; a tool that facilitates real-time multiplayer gaming; and a leaderboard that will "seamlessly" interact with Google+.  

For more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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