Google Inc. plans to launch its cloud-based music locker service at its developer's conference Google I/O to challenge Amazon's early mover advantage in the music streaming service.
NYTimes reported that Google will launch the service under the moniker Music Beta which will enable users to upload and store their music trove on the web which can be accessed by Android phones and tablets and computers.
WSJ reported that Google's music locker service will allow users stream music which they have uploaded but does not allow them to download files in a bid to curb music piracy. The locker service launched by Google is known among the music industry as a passive locker.
Google has been involved in securing licenses from major record companies but the current music-locker service will be launched sans such a license.
CNET reported that the beta service will be available to users only by invitation. Initially I/O conference attendees and Motorola Xoom tablet owners will be given priority. Later Google will tend to request for invitation by regular users. However, the service will be accessible only by browsers which support flash and Android version 2.2 or above.
Amazon trumped Google in the race to offer a cloud-based locker service when it launched its service Cloud Drive in March. Amazon described it as your hard drive in the cloud, which enables users to store music, videos, documents and photos on Amazon's servers. Stored music can be played using Amazon Cloud Player on a web browser and on Android devices. Also songs purchased from Amazon MP3 can be directly saved in Cloud Drive for free. Google's service is presently not tied to an online music store as Amazon's Cloud Drive.
At the launch Amazon's locker service offered 5GB storage for free and which could be increased to 20 GB for $20 a year. However, if a user purchases an album from Amazon MP3 Store, the user gets 20GB free storage for one year. According to Amazon, 5 GB space can store up to 1,000 songs, 2,000 photos and 20 minutes of HD video. The storage capacity can be enhanced up to 1,000 GB for $1,000 per year.
In February WSJ reported Apple could make its MobileMe service free which could serve as a locker for multimedia files. Earlier Gigaom reported that Apple COO Tim Cook had confirmed that the $1 billion data center in North Carolina is intended to support its Mobile Me and iTunes.
Apple is currently in the process of fine-tuning its cloud strategy and is still putting its cloud infrastructure together. Thus Google is attempting to fill the gap prior to Apple's move in the music locker service.