Google I/O, the Mountain View company’s tech extravaganza, kicks off in San Francisco today and while its not exactly official yet, it seems as if Google Music will be launched later today – but without the ability to purchase music directly.
The rumours of a cloud-based music streaming service from Google have been circulating for some time now and the Wall Street Journal and All Things D have both reported this morning that Google will launch the service later today – with All Things D even managing to get a Google exec to talk about the service. Users hoping to get a fully-featured music streaming service however will be disappointed as Jamie Rosenberg, Director of Android Product Management, confirmed to All Things D that users won’t be offered a music store to purchase tracks after talks with record labels broke down. "A couple of the major labels were less focused on the innovative vision that we put forward, and more interested in an unreasonable and unsustainable set of business terms."
So what will Google’s new service entail? Well according to the reports users will be able to store up to 20,000 tracks in the cloud and access them over the web on your desktop or any Android device whenever they like – and all for free. This service is comparable with Amazon’s Cloud Drive service, launched only a couple of weeks ago. Google’s service will also be able to automatically create playlists, a service Amazon failed to include in its Cloud Drive offering. Amazon’s service only offers users 5GB of storage or about 2,000 tracks for free but users can upgrade to 20GB for a fee. Amazon does however offer the chance to purchase tracks directly from them, which are then stored in your music locker automatically. It is unclear whether or not Google will attempt to get the record labels back around the table to try and hammer out a deal but the Mountain View company must be disappointed it hasn’t been able to release a fully-featured, cloud-based music streaming service before Apple unveils its offering.
As we said, this is still all unofficial but with the first keynote speech of Google I/O 2011 set for 5pm GMT this evening we will be reporting live on the event to bring you all the official details.
Source: All Things D and Wall Street Journal
Update: It's official, Music Beta by Google has been announced at Google I/O and will work pretty much as described in the earlier reports. One feature not previously mentioned is the ability to listen to some tracks while offline, either the most recent tracks you've listened to or predetermined lists of albums or artists. The service as we guessed will only be available in the States initially but fingers crossed for a wider roll out in the coming weeks/months.
Image Credit: Engadget