Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Google and Apple Music Services

Google Music (Beta) launched.  Is Apple’s service only days away?

Back on May 9th I talked about the Music Lockers idea, about Amazon’s newly announced service, and the widely expected coming services from Google and Apple.  Just one day later, Google announced Music Beta by Google.

The Google service is free for now while in beta and is still invitation only.  No information on how long it’ll be beta or what pricing might be like later. I’ve requested an invite but don’t have access yet.  I also don’t own an Android-based phone so maybe I’m not really the target audience.

Here's my understanding: Google isn’t selling any music tracks, but they give you the opportunity to upload those you already own using a manager application that they provide. They support multiple common formats. Once stored there, you can use a web tool at to play the music, or you can play music on your Android phone or tablet with the Google Music app loaded on it. Playlists seem to be synchronized among devices and are available on the web interface. Some nice early features include “instant mix” and offline caching for playback of recently accessed songs on your Android device.

Joining Amazon and Google, Apple’s service is expected to be coming very soon.  Apple, though, may have a different kind of service which allows for not only storage but also purchase (or rental?) of media, since they have an existing relationship with the record labels and other content owners.

Many people, including me, believe that the Apple announcement will take place in early June at the Apple World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco.  But it could be even sooner -- there are rumors of an Apple announcement of some kind just a few days from now to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Apple Retail stores. 

If you are already a Google Music or Amazon Clouddrive user, why not post a comment here and tell us about it?  If you have thoughts to share on the upcoming Apple service, or a particular feature you'd like, please post a comment about that.


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