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App Industry Roundup: Google's app convergence, iPad Store goes global

by Brad Spirrison

Google's new Chrome Web Store may be converging with the Android Marketplace sooner rather than later, said Google co-founder Sergey Brin at this week's I/O developer conference. Also int today's App Industry Roundup, we take a fresh look at the now global iPad App Store and preview the upcoming RezBook app from Urbanspoon. 

Google pushes Chrome Web Store and Android Marketplace, for now

With more than 50,000 apps available for the Android Marketplace (the vast majority debuting this year), Google seems to have a firm hand on mobile applications. Of course, the company's real bread and butter (and where it generates almost all of its revenue) is the web. Accordingly, this week's debut of the Chrome Web Store at Google's I/O developer's conference in San Francisco makes strategic sense. 

The question than becomes, why and for how long will Google maintain separate app stores with Chrome and the Android Marketplace? Comments made yesterday by Google co-founder Sergey Brin form an early answer to that question. 

"These models are likely to converge in the future, and not the too distance future," Brin noted while appearing at I/O. 

In Brin's analysis, the technological evolution of HTML5 and the expanding power of smart phones and tablet computing devices will eventually yield to one unified platform. 

"It's heading in a positive direction, but these are fairly recent developments," he said. 

Google's bet on both platforms is yet another indication of how apps - mobile or otherwise - are forever how we manage and consume information. 

iPad App Store goes global

A little more than one week until the iPad's May 28 shipment into markets outside of North America, consumers in Israel, France, Spain and the UK can now load up on apps. For international enthusiasts who can't wait to begin, keep in mind that the iBooks Bookstore is currently not available. 

Also, customers that access the new country-specific codes who have already acquired iPads and apps purchased through the U.S. Store will have to repurchase many of those apps. Further, apps exclusive to the U.S. like the popular ABC Player will no longer be available on internationally-connected devices. It may make sense to wait until the Lost finale to make the switch

Urbanspoon's new app for restaurant owners 

While it already has an iPhone app optimized for the iPad that helps consumers locate restaurants in their area, popular recommendation service Urbanspoon will soon add a service for restaurant owners to its app menu. 

RezBook is designed to help owners and managers replace many paper-based like managing seating and reservation requests, as well as storing customer information.