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Google to launch Music Beta, a cloud-based music service, reports say

May 9, 2011 |  7:53 pm

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Google Inc. is set as early as Tuesday to unveil an online music service similar to the one that Amazon.com Inc introduced in March, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Google is likely to introduce a system that functions much like a digital music locker, allowing users to upload their music to a remote server and play songs from any computer browser or through an app that runs on smartphones and tablets using the Android operating system, the WSJ said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The service will be called Music Beta by Google, the New York Times reported.

Although users will probably be able to stream jams they've uploaded onto the service, Google is expected to curtail music theft by not permitting the files to be downloaded, the WSJ said.

Google, like Amazon, has yet to seek licenses from the major record labels, the WSJ said, and is most likely to launch a "passive" locker system that would only allow users to listen to music they had uploaded. With licenses, Google and other online music service operators could give users access to tunes stored in central servers and other expanded offerings for smartphones, tablets and on computer browsers, the WSJ reported.

The system, which is likely to be unveiled at the annual Google I/O developers conference in San Francisco, ratchets up the competition among Google, Amazon and Apple to offer music storage and portability for the next generation, WSJ said. Apple is already negotating with top record labels to acquire licenses to beef up its own online music service.

Amazon's service, launched March 28, allows users to store their music library into an Amazon Cloud Drive (which can store other types of files and data too) and play back their music using Amazon's Cloud Player, which is available on the Web and in the form of an app for Google Android phones and tablets.

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Amazon Cloud Drive: A solution in search of a problem?

-- Shan Li

Photo: An Apple laptop sits on a podium with the Google logo during a Google special event Sept. 8 in San Francisco. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

 

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