Ably beating Apple for a change, Google has just joined Amazon in unveiling their cloud-based music service at this year’s Google I/O conference… but it’s still hard to believe that Cupertino won’t be able to clobber Google Music once iTunes joins the cloud, especially given the new service’s reliance upon Adobe Flash.
Currently invite only and “free for a limited time”, Google Music Beta will run on all Android devices or any device that supports Flash, ably cutting out Apple’s own iOS device line-up (and all-but-guaranteeing slow and buggy performance). It also eliminates many other smartphones, including any pre-Gingerbread Android device.
Even so, it Google Music looks good:
Essentially, you start off by uploading your music from your computer to the cloud (in a neat touch, Google Music can even upload your iTunes music library automatically). Once in the cloud, Google Music works like any other media player, except with a twist: it can be accessed from any computer or device with access to Flash.
A neat touch about Google Music Beta is that you don’t need to be online to listen to your songs. You can “pin” certain albums or artists to always sync with your Android device and be available offline. Additionally, a certain threshold of recent tracks — basically whatever is in cache — are available at any time on your device, regardless of your connection.
If you want to request an invitation to Google Music Beta, you can do so here.
At first blush, it’s certainly an impressive service, but it’s really hard to believe that Apple doesn’t have something more impressive up their sleeves, especially given Google Music Beta’s more bizarre omissions — there’s no way to buy music through Google Music — or just boneheaded decisions (seriously, Flash?)
Either way, though, in June, Apple is likely to unveil their own version of iTunes that runs in the cloud. Apple’s empire is built upon the back of iTunes, and Cupertino’s been beaten to launch by the their arch-rivals: Google and Android. There’s just no way they’re going to fuck this up.