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Three Things to Watch for at Google I/O


Big announcements are expected at the developer conference, which starts at noon EDT.

Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) annual Google I/O conference starts in just a few minutes, so we compiled a couple of things to watch for during the keynote and throughout the event.

1. An iTunes Competitor

The Internet giant is expected to reveal a music streaming service for its Google Play and YouTube users. Sources say that Google had set up an agreements with Sony Music Entertainment (NYSE:SNE), Warner Music Group (NYSE:TWX), and Vivendi's (EPA:VIV) Universal Music Group. Watch out, iTunes? (NASDAQ:AAPL)

2. Newer, Even Smarter Maps

The company is also likely to announce the new version of Google Maps. The new sign-up page of the service briefly went live earlier, revealing a number of added features. The new Google Maps will boast a "smarter search box," incorporate imagery from Google Earth, and it will feature new flight searches and visual route comparisons, among other options.

3. Android Updates -- Not

The third thing to watch for would be traditional Google I/O Android OS announcement updates – or a lack thereof.

Its Android platform -- the most popular mobile OS with more than 750 million devices worldwide -- has long been expected to get an update codenamed Key Lime Pie. However, this might not be the case, as the new head of Google Android, Sundar Pichai, recently said in interview with Wired, "It's not a time when we have much in the way of launches of new products or a new operating system."

Watch out for more news on both the hardware and software sides; it's very likely that the public will learn something new about the Google Glass project (pricing, perhaps?) and about a number of smaller updates to other services.

This year Google I/O will host more than 5,500 attendees in San Francisco from May 15 to May 17. It's the central Google event for developers and the company has announced a number of new products, technologies, and initiatives at I/O events since its launch in 2008.

At I/O 2012, Google unveiled its first tablet Nexus 7, updated Android (4.1, codenamed Jelly Bean) and also introduced Google Now.

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