Google’s Cloud Streaming Music Service

Google launched its long rumored cloud based music service on tuesday, calling it Music Beta, a name that signals the tentative nature of the service. It’s likely a response to Amazon Cloud, which hit the market a few weeks ago. Google had been in talks with record labels, trying to strike a deal for its service, but was meeting with lots of resistance. Amazon Cloud launched without record label permissions, boldly claiming that they did not need them.

The service is similar to cloud based streaming music locker services such as MP3Tunes as well as Amazon Cloud. Listeners can upload their personal music collection from one or more computers, any folder or ITunes library; build playlists and keep them in sync; and listen to recently played music offline as well. Missing from the service at this early stage are options to purchase songs, and share music with your personal network. Users can store up to 20,000 songs for free, versus Amazon‘s service which limits free service to 1,000 songs.

Even though it’s clearly temporary, I’m not very impressed with the name Music Beta which is far more hesitant than Amazon’s bold entry with Amazon Cloud. What, they couldn’t think of anything to call it? Music Beta is a branding catastrophe, an automatic do-over later. In the meantime, if you are trying to decide where to upload your ten thousand songs, are you choosing something called Music Beta???

But then again, Google’s history with music projects has been kind of tentative. They launched their last iteration, called Google Music, in October 2009. That initiative offered search for music by band, singer, song, album or lyrics, with results that allowed a full song streamed along with a purchase opportunity and other stuff. It disappeared quietly a while back.

In 2006 Google bought radio ad software company dMarc to launch Google Audio, a platform that tried to sell audio ads on radio stations by tapping into Google’s enormous advertiser base. After a bunch of stops and starts, I think that platform is still in existence, but limping along.

So it’s game-on for cloud based streaming music platforms, with Google, Amazon and MP3Tunes in play and Apple reportedly readying their entry as well. I’m waiting for my invitation to try Music Beta, so that I can come up with the perfect name…

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