May 10, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Google Music lives. After keeping android phone owners on the edge of their keyboards for nearly a year, Google has finally confirmed that its cloud-based music streaming service will launch soon in the United States.
Paul Joyce confirmed that Music Beta by Google will offer a cloud storage option that streams music to the desktop, Android phones, and tablets. For a limited time, members will have a free personal storage locker to upload up to 20,000 to their music collection. Those songs are then available to stream or sync for offline use, which is very similar to the Amazon Cloud Player launched recently.
A Windows or Mac companion app will add upload to a user’s song collection to Music Beta. The app even supports playlists, counts, and ratings from an existing iTunes account, and there’s an “Instant Mix” feature that creates on-the-fly playlists that finds similar tracks to a song that you want to hear now. The interface is well done and resembles the leaked music app that suddenly began syncing music to the cloud a few weeks ago. Best of all, it’s all synced to a Google account, so users will be able to get a new phone and instantly have their music collection ready.
The key difference between Google Music and Amazon Cloud is that Google Music does not sell music to members. Amazon’s service enables the purchase of songs and then makes every purchase automatically available to customers. Google doesn’t include a storefront in its music service, because it was unable to reach a deal with the major record labels. Continued rumors suggest that Google held back launching Music because of the lack of licensing deals, but the company has decided to launch a product now to attract users, and then hope to sell music directly through an update.
UPDATE: At a post-keynote press conference, Jaime Rosenberg, Director of Digital Content for Android confirmed rumors.
Unfortunately, a couple of major labels only wanted to [sell music through us] at terms that were unreasonable…the majority of the [music] industry sees what we’re trying to do and are very excited by the possibilities of what we showed you today…What we launched today is a completely legal service. in the same way you might move your collection to a portable mP3 player or a backup hard drive.