As predicted, Google has followed Amazon’s recent lead and announced its own cloud-based music storage and streaming service.
As with the online retailer’s effort, Google is providing a digital locker you can upload your entire music collection to. How much space will be in that locker isn’t yet clear as the service is only in beta at the moment (and currently only available to testers in the US).
Amazon allows for 5GB of storage, increasing to 20GB if you buy an MP3 album from the online retailer, so Google will doubtless have to stay competitive with that capacity.
Google has set the system up so your Android device will store the most recently played tunes locally, so if you can’t connect to the cloud, you can at least enjoy these tunes.
Music and playlists are automatically kept in sync across all devices, so if you create a new playlist on your smartphone, it will be ported across and available on your computer the next time you use that.
Another feature is an Instant Mix playlist, which lets you select a song that currently fits your mood and creates a custom playlist of similar tunes. Although iTunes also does a similar thing to this, it should be interesting to see how effective its DJ’ing is.
The one area where the Google music service falls behind Amazon is when it comes to buying music online. Where the latter boasts a neat integrated song shopping experience, Google is far more spotty and links out to a variety of third-party vendors (some of which aren’t always offering digital music).
It’s still early days yet, and Apple is yet to arrive on the scene with its iCloud, which could potentially rain on both Amazon and Google’s musical parade.