Google continues to expand the ecosystem around its Android operating system for mobile devices, as evidenced by a couple of announcements today.
Google’s research arm has launched Listen, an audio magazine that lets Android phone users subscribe to programs and search terms. That lets users line up podcasts without a lot of hassle.
Google Labs’ Listen lets you keep a couple of hours of audio stored on your cell phone, which is plenty for those who want to listen to podcasts during a commute. You can share the podcasts and search through updates for news.
You can use Listen with phones such as T-Mobile’s G1 and myTouch 3G with Google and can download the app to those phones via the Android Market.
In another development (in an attempt to set the record straight after USA Today reported Android wouldn’t support Skype), Google clarified its approach to allowing Skype and other voice-over-Internet-protocol applications on Android-based phones. Andy Rubin, vice president of mobile platforms at Google, said in a blog post that the first generation of Android did not support full-featured VoIP applications due to technology limitations but that subsequent versions of Android now let developers build and upload VoIP services.
He noted that individual operators can ask these apps to be filtered out if they “violate their terms of service.” T-Mobile said it has not made any request to block Skype. And Google says it has not rejected an application from Skype or any other VoIP provider yet.
He said Google is “excited to see — and use — these applications when they’re submitted, because they often provide more choice and options for users.”