Google Music: Google announced some serious modifications to its music service late Wednesday, pulling out of beta and into the wild world of commerce. Tracks will now be available on the Android Market, and will offer a catalog of millions of songs.
Hooking in its social network, Google+, the company is also making it easy to share songs either publicly or with select groups through the network’s Circles feature, adding the all-important element of social music discovery.
Black Friday: Black Friday is creeping up earlier and earlier, and Best Buy is moving ahead with its usual “Shop Early, Save Big” sales that the company says are meant to reduce the rush on the mega-shopping day that follows Thanksgiving.
The electronics retailer will offer electronics bundles this weekend in-store and online. The sale will start Friday and run through Saturday.
Mobile shopping: This year, holiday shoppers are expected to turn to their smartphones more than they ever have before. That’s the takeaway from a study by mobile ad network InMobi, released Thursday.
According to InMobi’s survey, 60 million mobile users will shop on Black Friday using their smartphones, and 21 million intend to purchase goods directly from their mobile devices. That number is even higher with the more tech-focused Cyber Monday shoppers — the survey found 42 percent of shoppers plan to use their mobile devices to shop for gadgets and electronics.
Amazon making a phone?: Amazon looks like its sitting pretty following the launch of the Kindle Fire, with analysts estimating that the tablet could sell as many as 5 million units by the end of the year. Now, All Things Digital reports, Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney is putting forth the idea that Amazon is moving far outside its comfort zone of e-readers and exploring the possibility of a smartphone. Mahaney is basing his speculation on reports from Asian supply chain companies that say the company is developing a phone with Hon Hai Industries. (If that name rings a bell, it’s because they also make devices for Apple.)
Mahaney said the phone would be ready in the fourth quarter of 2012.
SOPA opposition: While the Stop Online Piracy Act has a lot of bipartisan support, it’s also garnered quite a bit of lawmaker opposition — particularly from California politicians, who are joining Silicon Valley opposition to the bill.
Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D- Calif.) said Thursday on Twitter that Congress needs to “find a better solution” than SOPA, adding the hashtag “#DontBreakTheInternet.”