Today at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco, California, Apple's iTunes got a new competitor in the digital music space. But this rival is already poised to go somewhere iTunes never has - the clouds.
Google's new cloud-based music player, Music Beta, was officially unveiled as a streaming product that, at least for the life of its beta existence, will be free. The catch, however, is that the forthcoming service isn't yet available to all. To try out the service, you have to be "invited" - sort of like the way Google first introduced Gmail.
The cloud player is basically what everyone expected it to be — a way for Google users to upload music to a remote server and access it from other devices. An independent PC or Mac-enabled application uploads music with a remote cloud server. Users can then stream the music through the Internet to other mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
Unfortunately, there really isn't much of a service to experience for the time being. That is, Google is yet to seal the deal on an agreement with major music labels. For now, the service will consist of that which users upload as their own content. As we understand it, users of the beta service can upload a maximum of 20,000 songs.
While Google hasn't quite lifted the veil of secrecy on all the bells and whistles of the new service, we do know that users can listen to their songs without access to the Internet. Cloud synchronizing wasn't discussed in any great detail, but from the looks of the teaser material made available, users will be able to download music to mobile devices over the air.
We been hearing for months (or is it years now?) that Apple will soon follow through on similar plans to launch iTunes into the clouds. We've all been holding our breath for that one. And, sadly, it doesn't appear that the blue tint upon our countenance will fade any time soon.
Invitation here. https://music.google.com/about/