Competition could heat up with Google and Apple launching Cloud services.
Google has been ever so eager to step into already established markets, with services like Buzz, and Google Music. Today we'll take a look at Google Music Beta, which is a cloud based music player. Not that there's anything new with it, but when Google does it, there is this element of curiosity in it. Google Music Beta is no different than the already existing players like Slacker Radio, Pandora or others. This cloud player allows users to stream their music to absolutely any internet connection.
The cloud based music player by Google, was made available for Motorola XOOM owners in the U.S., and some attendees of the Google I/O conference. It is expected to be rolled out to mobile platforms worldwide.
Google Music Beta
Users will have to download Google's Music Manager and add all the songs from their computer's library. You don't even have to do that really; the software will scan your hard drive and also add all the music. All you have to do is click on a button approving the uploading of songs to the cloud, and the magic happens. Google recommends you to do it over Wi-Fi or 3G, since it requires a lot of time to upload to the cloud. You will also have the ability to stop the upload and resume it at any given time, so it's not imperative that you upload them all at once. You can access the uploaded music by downloading a Google Music app from the Android Market. The app's interface is similar to that of the stock Android player. So there's nothing new in that regard.
The best part about this player is that just about any device with an internet connection, be it the iPhone or the BlackBerry PlayBook, can access the music library very easily. You only need to log in from their respective browsers with appropriate credentials and you're good to go. It's very commendable that this service isn't restricted only to Android. This service will be free, so that's another benefit for users all over the world. Let's hope this service is rolled out all over the world pretty soon.
From the demos it is clear that Google is all set for a grand opening of the Google Music Beta. Since this is still in its Beta stage, it is plausible that some flaws may be found. We'll have to wait till Google releases the full version of the player to get a complete idea of its functionalities.
Apple recently showed off iCloud, which is a similar service, and offers more or less similar functionality. From what we've learnt, iCloud will be able to store absolutely any data on the cloud and is not limited to just music. So Google might want to look closely at that aspect.
iCloud can also store images on the cloud with a service called Photo Stream,
which will let the users store up to 1000 pictures in Apple's servers
for a limited period of 30 days after which, they will have to look for
an alternative location for their images. Another thing that caught our
eye was the seamless integration with other iOS devices. If a
user wants to add data on the cloud, it would automatically get pushed
to other iOS devices that he/she owns, which the user can access from
the connected iOS device. Plus, when you purchase music online, a copy
of it will be made on the cloud which can later be downloaded or
streamed from other iOS devices that you own. Cool, isn't it?
Now let's look into the iTunes Match feature. This will basically
look into your entire music library and upgrade the audio files to 256
kbps AAC files to improve the quality. This service will cost users $25
(Rs.1,120) per year, which is not much, considering the quality of audio
files you'll get. iCloud will also sync with mail, calendar or even the
applications on the iTunes App Store.
Google's Cloud Music Service on the other hand, merely offers music storage on the cloud. It shouldn't bother Google much since they are quite focused at this for the moment, but comparisons will obviously be made, and iCloud wins this one quite comfortably. But who knows what the future holds for us, we might just be seeing another competitive cloud service coming from Google. There is still some time till either of the companies launches its respective services though.
In the mean time, check out the demonstration video of Google Music Beta below: