This might have flown under the radar for a lot of people but Google has released its cloud music service (potentially in response to Amazon which released its fully functioning service recently). As you might know, Amazon caused a bit of an upset upon launching its service and delivering songs bought through its online store directly to its cloud storage platform. This not only caught the competition off guard but ruffled the feathers of the record companies.
So what does Google Music have to offer? More specifically, what doesn’t if offer?
Well, for starters, Google Music has no deals with the record companies which means you will have a limited selection of music but I guess it depends upon your definition of “limited”. If you happen to like everything in Google Music then you might not be as limited as someone else who has musical taste that is barely covered by the service.
Google Music is also only available for use in the USA (officially). Whilst you can get around the invitation request process by using a proxy attempting to download the Google Music app through official means is region locked. Manually installing the APK file on your Android device also has varying mileage across devices (not surprisingly it works on the Nexus S but it doesn’t work on my rooted Samsung Galaxy S running Gingerbread).
Google, the world is larger than the USA, damn it.
Also, in true Google form, the service is in beta. As to how long the beta period will carry on is anybody’s guess. Gmail took five years to shed its beta designation. Is this really a beta or something to cover Google should everything go pear-shaped with the music industry? Furthermore, it appears that Google will charge for this service at some point but I can hardly see this as a valuable proposition in its current form.
The bottom line is that Google has released a lame duck into the wild because it has failed to successfully negotiate with the music industry. Granted, that’s no minor feat but if there were industry backing we’d be seeing wider spread availability of the service and a wider range of music available.
Google may have just snatched defeat from the jaws of victory to bring a meaningful content ecosystem to its own Android platform but it looks like Amazon will do that job for them and reap the rewards. Unless Google gets a move on this could be another Google Wave that will be put out of its misery.