Tomorrow, Google is going to announce Google Music Beta. As of now, we the public know very little about this exciting new music service from the search giant of Mountain View. But CNet got a hold of some exclusive information that it’s shared with us thus far. The rest of the details, we can glean.
What is Google Music?
Google Music will be yet another online, cloud-based music locker. Users can upload their songs to Google Music and then stream them from the web on any of their devices. This will likely be incorporated into Google’s Chrome OS, it’s stripped down, web-centric laptop operating system. And it also makes sense that it will work for Android, Google’s smartphone operating system.—which it will. In fact, Android users will even be able to access their music offline.
What about the iPhone? That’s a big maybe. But given Google’s love for HTML5, it’s somewhat likely that a mobile Safari-friendly version of the cloud player will exist someday. But not today. For now, the service will be flash-based.
Is Google Music Going to Be Licensed by the Music Companies?
No. At least not yet. For now, they are operating off the same assumption that Amazon is, with its Amazon Cloud Player. The rationale is that because these are your files and Google is only streaming it back to you, then they don’t need to buy streaming rights. If Google were to allow users to listen to music uploaded to other users, then they would face the same licensing requirements as they do with YouTube (i.e. lots of content would end up being removed). But as of now, Google Music does not seem to have any intentions of supporting this type of service.
Will Google Music Be Free?
Probably. Google already gives away boatloads of storage space for their Google Docs, Gmail and other services. It’s likely that Google users will have a unified storage quota, which at last count, was 7.5 GB for this user.
How do I get a Google Music Invite?
Who knows. It’ll probably be rolled out regionally, possibly to some key power users and members of the media. It’s likely that it’ll be like Google Voice, where each beta user got to invite five other users. If you get a Google Music invitation, feel free to let us know here пЃЉ.
Is this an iTunes killer/Amazon Cloud Player killer?
Probably not. As of now, Google doesn’t have its own music store. And even if it rolled out with one next week, it couldn’t rival the established music store that Amazon and Apple have been cultivating for the past few years. That, perhaps, may be Amazon’s saving grace. Amazon allows users to store songs from their MP3 Store for free, and their selection of DRM-free music is excellent. Google will have to come up with a perk to match that sweet deal.
Google Music Beta is worth watching. But it’s worth nothing that Google is far from infallible. Anyone who remembers Google Answers, Google Orkut or Google Knol should know not to bank too much on Google entering into an already crowded marketplace. But we’ll see.