For years, Google has been toying with the idea of jumping into the digital music game, and now their hypothetical music locker has become reality. The online giant announced Music Beta by Google today at an industry conference, even though the company has not yet secured the cooperation of the four major record labels. Like Amazon's recently launched service, Google will make use of a cloud-based music player and a digital locker that allows users to store their music library on the site, making it accessible on portable devices like the Android and computers.
Right now Music Beta by Google is only available to the tech in-crowd by invitation only, but a full launch is expected in a couple of weeks. The complete details haven't yet been announced, but the Google locker will provide much more space than Amazon's, the New York Times reports. Music Beta by Google will allow users to store 20,000 songs for no charge, compared to Amazon's free 1,000-track locker. Storage (and the outrageous price tag) was one of The Amp's primary problems with the Amazon version.
Why would Google suddenly unleash its music locker, even though the record labels hadn't signed off on it? The New York Times reports that Amazon's launch sped up the process. However, it's maybe no coincidence that just yesterday, a new report named Apple as the world's most valuable brand, ending Google's four-year run atop the list. Companies like Amazon and Google are banking on the hope that cloud-based players and digital lockers will diminish demand for iPods and other Apple products, which would reduce the need for iTunes. That would go a long way toward putting a sizable dent in Apple's digital music dominance.
For anyone who owns an iPod, the arrival of digital lockers might not seem like a big deal. But when that iPod eventually dies or becomes archaic and you're faced with the prospect of purchasing another, but you already own an Android or something compatible with a digital locker, Google hopes at that point Music Beta becomes a palatable option. And then Apple has one less customer.