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By Richard Waters and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson

By showing that it is prepared to play by the music industry’s rules with its new All Access subscription service, Google has won itself new friends among the music labels.

The main questions now: Can it overcome a patchy past track record in the music business, take advantage of its early lead in subscriptions over Apple and show that it can carve an audience of paying punters out of its massive user base? Read more

Google shares rose past the $900 mark on Wednesday as it announced 900m Android activations at its annual developer conference, Google I/O, in San Francisco. Google also launched a new subscription music streaming service, Google Play All Access, and a bunch of new services for developers, including improved gaming capabilities, mapping services and voice-controlled search tools.
Here’s a transcript of the liveblog by Chris Nuttall and Tim Bradshaw, who were reporting from the Moscone Center. 

Duedil, a start-up that provides information on every private company in the UK, has raised $5m in funding ahead of an expansion into more than a dozen countries across Europe.

The London-based company takes data from public and private databases and links it together to provide users with insights that would otherwise have been impossible to obtain. Read more

Small, square, sub-$100 black boxes dominate streaming internet-television devices in the US, in the shape of Apple TV and Roku’s LT, XS, XD and HD boxes.

There’s no shame then in Western Digital imitating this successful formula in launching today the WD TV Play - the latest variation of its WD TV lineup of content-streaming set-top boxes. Read more

Video chat is becoming more sophisticated and social, with developers working out how better to combine media streams and groups of friends in online conversation.

Rabbit, which launches in beta today on Macs, was designed by game developers and introduces more visually appealing video chatrooms and easier ways to connect with friends. Glide, which debuted at Macworld last week, offers a video group walkie-talkie service on the iPhone. Both are free to download and use. Read more

Dr.Dre

With millions of record sales under his belt and a glittering career producing albums for stars such as Eminem and 50 Cent, Dr Dre is lauded within the music industry as a hip-hop pioneer.

The consumer electronics industry has come to hold him in similar esteem, judging by the rash of imitators of Beats by Dre, the headphones company he co-founded, showcasing their wares at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

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The so-called PayPal mafia is a force to be reckoned with in Silicon Valley: Max Levchin joining the Yahoo board is just the latest example of a network that spans Facebook, YouTube, Yammer, LinkedIn, Square and – with Elon Musk’s SpaceX – the edge of the earth’s atmosphere.

In the British start-up world, the closest analogy is Lovefilm. The DVDs-by-post turned video-on-demand service was acquired by Amazon in January 2011, but even before that, had started the careers of many London tech-scene notables.

Now, Adam Valkin – a co-founder and sometime chief executive of Lovefilm, who went on to join TV producer Endemol and, three years ago, Accel Partners’ London office – is helping to take the Lovefilm mafia abroad. Read more

Interesting commentary from around the Web on a tech story that made headlines last week.

Despite an unexpected delay, the release of Apple’s updated iTunes on Thursday was generally well-reviewed by tech bloggers. Its simple interface and speedy performance was seen as a major upgrade. However, questions lingered over whether it would keep iTunes at the forefront in a new world of music subscription services like Spotify and Rdio. Read more

Pure Sensia 200d connect

Of all our familiar gadgets, the radio set is perhaps the most endangered by smartphones and tablets, with the internet pulling in thousands more stations than short wave ever could. Two radios just launched add web connectivity, but do they have enough extra features to outmatch the latest smartphone apps?

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Google sign

It has taken Wall Street a long time to warm to Google’s second act.

This week, however, stock market investors have finally thrown aside some of their wariness. By pushing the search company’s shares to their first record high in almost five years, they delivered a vote of confidence in the new, more diversified advertising business that has become the basis for Google’s latest surge of growth – while also giving an implicit thumbs-down to Facebook, whose short-term chances of putting Google in the shade, at least in business terms, have receded sharply.

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Logitech, the computer peripherals maker that has seen keyboards and mice sales hit by the advent of the smartphone and tablet, is expanding its premium Ultimate Ears (UE) brand to become a mass-market name for products that meet the musical needs of the Apple-led mobile crowd.

This necessary shift – Logitech admitted last year it had missed opportunities in this newer market – begins with the launch today of Logitech UE headphones, speakers and even an internet radio. Read more

Spotify’s international expansion after launching in the US last year is reflected in big leaps in both revenues and losses for 2011. The digital music service’s annual report, recently filed in Luxembourg, showed its revenues more than doubled from €73.9m in 2010 to €187.8m. But at the same time, losses grew by 59 per cent to €45.4m last year. Read more

Spotify

This week marks the first anniversary of Spotify’s much-hyped invasion of America.

The Swedish digital music service took two years of negotiations with labels to reach the world’s largest music market. But although the music industry has warmed to streaming services in the past year, Spotify has yet to prove whether it can achieve the massive popular success of fellow countrymen Abba – or if it must settle for the critical international acclaim of a more niche band such as The Cardigans.

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As Facebook settles its IPO price at a top-of-the-range $38, valuing the social network at $104bn, Facebookers are doing what Facebookers do: hacking.

In a so-very-Facebook move, the company is running an overnight hackathon on Thursday night, right up until founder Mark Zuckerberg rings the Nasdaq opening bell on Friday morning – an attempt to show the world that the company’s heart really lies in the product, not the money. Read more

Spotify, the music streaming service, has followed rivals MOG and Rdio and finally released an iPad app, but it’s been worth the wait.

The app features fast switching between different tracks, almost full-screen album art and intuitive navigation for swiping through information about artists and opening panes on similar artists. Read more

Spotify is to open its doors in Germany this week in the digital music service’s biggest launch since coming to the US last year.

It is the latest example of a digital music firm growing its global footprint as record labels become increasingly bullish on subscription services.  Read more

A recent FT series on the state of the UK’s tech industry asked if Britain had what it takes to  go head to head with Silicon Valley in building great new global companies.

Financing, ideas and ambition were the three areas where British start-ups are often seen as struggling, but news from Songkick, a social network for gig-goers based in Shoreditch, shows that the UK can succeed in all three.

Songkick has become the first UK company to receive an investment from Sequoia Capital, one of Silicon Valley’s best-known venture capital firms having formerly invested in Apple, Google and YouTube to name but a few. Read more

It is a measure of how far streaming digital music services have come that Daniel Ek, co-founder of Spotify, could be feted by a room full of music industry lawyers during Grammy Awards week.

Ek, the keynote speaker at the Entertainment Law Initiative event at the Beverly Hills Hotel, hinted at the industry’s initial resistance when he pointed out that he had started Spotify in 2006 and it had taken him two years to launch in Europe and a full five years before it hit the US market last July. Read more

No wonder the record labels are sounding much more positive about music subscription services. Spotify is starting to reap the benefits of its oft-doubted “freemium” business model.

After hitting 2.5m subscribers in November, the Anglo-Swedish digital music service has now reached 3m, with more than 20 per cent of its active user base paying every month to banish advertisements or listen on smartphones. Read more

The latest tweets from Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga could soon be appearing alongside their music in media players such as iTunes or Spotify after Twitter began a new pilot programme to integrate its celebrity users into external services. Read more