Music News Software, Android, Article, Cloud computing, Computing, Digital music and audio, Google, Josh Halliday, Mobile phones, News, smartphones, Software, Technology, United States, World news — May 11, 2011 12:03 — 4 Comments
Google launches Music Beta and film player
Music Beta for Google is great news for people on the go. In a nutshell, upload up to 20,000 tunes from your computer to a cloud and listen to them on your smartphone. No internet connection needed. How will Apple respond is the next question
Google has unveiled its long-awaited music and film players in its biggest challenge yet to the dominance of Apple’s iTunes.
Two new cloud-based players – which are intially available only in the US – will allow users to stream music and movies on their Android smartphones or tablet computers, without the need for an internet connection.
Music Beta for Google, the technology giant’s "digital music locker", was unveiled alongside the film rentals service for Android at the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.
The music player allows users to upload up to 20,000 songs from their computer – including tracks bought on iTunes – to the internet, which they can then listen to on the move. Music Beta will be free while it is invitation-only.
Music Beta works in the same as Amazon’s Cloud Player, which the online retailer launched at the end of March. However, Cloud Player customers can upload just over 1,000 songs, with those who purchase music from the Amazon store upgraded to a premium service.
Like Cloud Player, Google’s music service has launched without concluding deals with major music labels.
Earlier this week, Google’s director of digital content for Android told the New York Times that it was not "relying on partnerships [with music companies] that have proven difficult" to launch the service. He said the music labels had not been "as collaborative and frankly were demanding a set of business terms that were unreasonable" during the negotiations.
Google is also making its recently expanded library of more than 3,000 films – including The King’s Speech and Inception – available to stream offline, on Android smartphones and tablets. Film lovers will not be burdened with lengthy downloads either – movies will be stored on the internet and cached on users’ portable devices for offline playback.
Apple is expected to announce its answer to its rivals’ digital music lockers in the near future, with a significant upgrade to iTunes. Unlike the offerings from Google and Amazon, Apple’s service is anticipated to include elements of popular cloud-based streaming services like Spotify and Rhapsody, which allow users to play music they have not already purchased.
Mark Mulligan, a senior music analyst at technology advisers Forrester, said that the new generation of music players failed to match up with consumer expectations.
"Streaming, purchasing, discovery, storage and playback should all be brought together into a 360 Degree Music experience. That’s what consumers want and is the logical answer to the questions the emergence of the cloud poses. 360 Degree Music experiences are what will sell devices and drive music consumption and revenue, not locker services alone," he said.
"Now that Amazon and Google have both shown their hands, the last hope for a 360 Degree Music experience this year lies with that being a royal flush that Apple is holding close to its chest."
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