Google Music Sees New Competitor in Apple’s iCloud


We all knew it was coming. Google beat Apple to the punch by unveiling their own cloud music service at their I/O developer conference in May, but just a month later Apple has formally introduced the world to iCloud. iCloud does more than just music, with documents, apps, and photos all covered by the internet-based hub. Google has solutions already in place to cover most of those bases, though not rolled into one service as we see with Apple’s new product.

But music is the big bullet point here, and Apple is striking back as only they could. Leveraging their already immense iTunes library, the need to sync music with the cloud is mostly unnecessary. iTunes can match tracks on their servers with those already in your library for streaming over the internet. Still, the ability to upload your own music is there. Another step up Apple has on Google is the ability to purchase music and have it instantly pushed to all of your devices. Google hoped to implement similar features but after talks with record labels fell through, the tech giant fell back on a more basic cloud storage model.

I hate to say it, but Google Music has some work to do if it hopes to catch up to iTunes in the Cloud. Sure, Apple may be busy stealing UI elements from Android, but their longstanding relations with music labels and large user base will challenge Google to top them. Google needs to continue to pursue the idea of creating their own online music store. Striking deals with record labels, as difficult as it might be, will be key in boosting Google Music beyond iCloud.

[via iSource]

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  1. Apple didn’t say anything about streaming. All they’re doing is syncing wirelessly between devices. It’s more like iSync than iCloud.

    1. That’s what I thought.  It seems like an odd omission.

      1. ya i don’t get how people misinterpret what was said/not said.  it’s full downloading of each purchased song/album, up to 10 devices.  sounds like idropbox…

  2. Did I miss it, or is Apple not offering streaming, just full downloads?

    1. iCloud stores your music, photos, apps, calendars, documents, and more.
      And wirelessly pushes them to all your devices — automatically. It’s the
      easiest way to manage your content. Because now you don’t have to.

      I don’t think you missed anything with the way that’s worded.

    2. No you can’t stream which sucks.  Plus there’s no advantages to it otherwise.

  3. I’m playing all my music on any browser thanks to Google Music; for free. Why would I give Apple $25 per year. I don’t want iTunes, and cannot install it at work.

    As far as listening to current music not in my library, I pay Napster $100 per year to listen on any PC and 3 phones – including unlimited downloads for off-line.

    1. ditto! I finally got all my music uploaded to Google Music and it’s nice–I’m actually listening to my music again whereas before I wasn’t because it was on a separate HD and didn’t want to hassle hooking it up all the time.

      All Google Music needs is easy and cheap music purchasing that loads directly to Google Music.

      The bottom of this page, where the chart is says it all:

      Apple $24.99
      Amazon $50.00
      Google $???

  4. Could they have possibly thrown ‘(Weeks)’ in there any more?? Took my library 2 days to fully sync and now I am golden. BTW, Google Music works great on my iPad. :p

  5. “Apple may be busy stealing UI elements from Android”. Sorry, I’m an Android fan and developer but Google copied MUCH MORE UI elements from Apple than Apple from Google. Without Apple, Android would look much different and there would be no tablet version.

    1.  I’m not disputing you.  Could you please give some examples?  I can think of swiping on the screen to unlock, and the on screen keyboard.  Both of which are pretty much functional.

      To unlock a device, you’re going to either need some kind of physical button to unlock, or some kind of gesture on the screen.

      To key in data, well duh, you’re going to need an on screen keyboard.

      There is the dialer app, but again, pretty functional in design.

      A scrolling list of icons for apps.

      Conventional controls (drop downs, combo boxes, text boxes, labels, push buttons, sticky or toggle buttons, check boxes, option buttons, etc).

      There are other similarities that are obvious outgrowths of conventional GUI’s.  Modal popup dialog boxes and alerts.  Popup menus.

      I’m puzzled what you are think of that is copied from iPhone?

      1. Android UI as a whole is inspired by Android. When Android was first previewed, it wasn’t optimized for touch at all. 
        Some examples – kinetic scrolling, multitouch zoom, URL bar hiding in the browser, animation when moving to the next screen, Android Market, Honeycomb time/date dialog, tablet version of Android.

        1. I don’t think you meant to, but I agree android’s UI is definitely inspired by android. 1.x was very bad, and has only gotten better.

        2.  Thank you.

    2. There is probably a lot of truth in what you say as Apple hit the street first, while Google was just thinking about phone servicet.  However Apple has an arrogance about themselves such as RIM and Nokia once had as the leaders in the market…I don’t see them smiling anymore.

      Apple had the fun to have phones thus stole the market.  However with that arrogance that they have, they are now sitting in the position of RIM and Nokia, while Android is slowly becoming the fun to have phones.  Between the innovations of Google, then the open community, Android is growing up fast.  Just take a look at the HTC Sensation, from what I have seen so far, it really looks like a phone that will be very enjoyable to own.  I have never been a fan of the custom UIs, sticking to the stock Android on all my phones, but I am very much looking forward to the HTC Sensation…and why is that because it looks like it will be fun to own. 

      Apple is either going to change their ways or watch the Android + Community (Android Army) take over.  Android cannot destroy Apple but they can surely take the controlling  lead role that Apple once arrogantly held!

      1. I mostly agree.

      2. Mostly true. And agree that Apple will not go away. Lets not forget that all companies add their own value to the industry. Apple want to be the best at what they do and so they pno doubt believe that they are. I don’t think they care that much about market share, they want to make their toys and then share them with the world (by selling them). They probably have a philosophy that if they have worked hard to create something then they have a disdain to anyone who just copies them to simply so they can make money. I don’t think they should be continually raked over the coals for this philosophy. Google also add value to the inustry but they have a different business model which entails giving away a lot of stuff so they can sell adds. But in the end they make billions of dollars too and I’d say they are very protective of their business model as well.

        I don’t think Apple care how much marketshare Google has. I have not ever heard them say they want to dominate any particular industry. I have never heard them say they want to have majority market share. I have not heard them say things like ‘strangle air supply’ like a certain un-named company said about Netscape. I have heard them state sales figures, makett share, etc but this is not the same. These are just statistics.

        I think the companies to be wary of are those who base their business models on aquiring domnate market share. Why? Because those models are based on perpetual growth…and perpetual growth is unsustainable.

    3. Have to agree with this. Though I will say that a touch interface OS would have come along eventually (possibly Android). It just would have taken a lot longer. No doubt in my mind that Apple kick started the revolution of mobility and the moment they are still at the forefront.

    4. Android looks nothing IOS. IOS is just a matrix of icons – nothing else. The convoluted slide-screens to get to settings etc is nothing like that in Android.

      Android’s notification system,  context menus, long press gestures, getures,  folder support, file type support, app linking, support for flash and widgets are very different to and was mostly non-existent in IOS. Where was IOS multitasking until recently?

      Yes Apple re-invigorated the smartphone market by being popular and the first to really market touch technology to consumers I’ll admit to that,  but the tablet was nothing more than a bigger smartphone – a revolutionary step that was already occurring with the introduction of the Dell streak and the multitude of 4.3″ phones on Android – it was a natural stop forward to want a bigger device.  Apple did beat them to it and created a true tablet,  which jump started the market but it was going in that direction anyway.  Obviously with a bigger screen, the OS and apps would have to updated to take advantage of it – that’s a given and to say Google copied Apple is a loooooong stretch. All these Android manufacturers are doing is competing in the market Apple jump started.

  6. It’s not from Google, but Amazon does have an Android app and mp3 store that work together.

    Others that have deals with record labels could potentially do this.

    Eventually, when Android is big enough, I predict Apple will offer their iCloud music on Android.  Yes, just like iTunes, Safari, QuickTime are on Windows.  They couldn’t force everyone who wants an iPod/iPhone/iPad to buy a Mac — they had no choice but to put iTunes on Windows.  As Apple makes more and more revenue from iTunes, and Android gets much bigger than iOS, it is not so impossible to see this happening.

    1. Your prediction is wrong. It’s not going to happen. In order to increase market share they did put iTunes on Windows, but why would they put iTunes on Android, they have no need to, and they won’t. To think they will is a flawed viewpoint. Apple won’t help the competition gain market share, in the end, we have a 2 horse smartphone race, it’s not going to become one horse, never will. You will see iOS integrate more with the desktop and Apple’s plan is as people have that integration, people will buy Mac’s and then switch to iOS.

      1. Wow…really??? You think apple will not take android users money? Sorry but they would be stupid not to STUPID! Honestly the best thing for apple to do is create an iTunes app. If you can’t beat them take their money……besides you say why put iTunes on android when you state why put iTunes on windows (to create market share)

        1. They won’t. By doing such they admit that Android is a viable threat to their ecosystem. By thinking that they will you demonstrate a flawed viewpoint that shows no understanding of marketing or growth potential. Apple has no reason to do such, Apple still has the iTunes Marketshare that has been created and sealed with iOS devices and the iTunes purchasing. Their market share will grow with or without iTunes on Android. Apple’s viewpoint is you already can put your iTunes on Android, so why create a new application for such. The fact is it isn’t going to happen.

          To put it in another viewpoint, they would be stupid to put an iTunes app on Android, it’s the same reason why RIM hasn’t created a BBM application for Android/iOS. Should they do such, they remove the motivation for people to switch to their platform. When you think of the profits Apple gets from their App Store, why would they want to make it so people have less motivation to migrate to iOS? They then lose out on Application Marketshare. People still will buy music through iTunes and just transfer it to their Android device, Apple doesn’t want to make it easier for them to do such.

          1. Your viewpoint is correct, IF Apple and Android are competitors.  Your viewpoint is wrong if Apple becomes a minority player — which I believe it will.

          2. I disagree on Apple becoming a minority player from the sole reasoning that Apple is easier for the typical user to use. Everything that Apple announced today has existed on other platforms in some way shape or form. While as Android users we gloat about streaming, the average user wouldn’t understand if you don’t have a Data connection you can’t stream. The average user won’t want to have to load their files up into Google Docs and work directly from such. This is where Apple has the advantage. It does all of this without special interaction from the user.

            I work in IT and while yes Android is the more powerful platform, Apple hands down is easier to use. My mom is computer illiterate, there I attempted to get her to switch to Android before realising it was futile. She couldn’t understand all the widgets and customisation. She just wants it to work, and that’s where Apple will succeed.

            When you look at the proficiency of technology users, we had a nice uptick in proficiency, up to probably the mid 2000’s once that hit and technology became cheaper and cheaper, the proficiency dropped. People expect products to just work  and don’t care HOW it works. This is how I make the bulk of my money, when I started in IT people wanted to know why something doesn’t work, nowadays, they just want it to work, I went from fixing and teaching to just fixing.

            Apple will not be a minority player anytime in the near future if at all. Apple and Android will be neck and neck and most likely as much as I hate to say it, Android will be more of a Minority player, (at least in the US, from what I remember reading, Android is much more popular outside the US, and I attribute that to a higher technical proficiency.)

      2.  If you are right that it ends up a two horse race, then of course, Apple will never put iTunes on Android.

        If you are wrong (which is what I believe to be the case) then Apple will start losing market share before too long.  Android growth is already faster than Apple’s.  Apple has growth, but not that much.  It is mostly turnover of the faithful acolytes.

        Therefore, at some point, when Apple is a minor player, I believe they’ll look at how to get revenue from the large base of Android users.

        There’s nothing like having compatible standards.  Like 110 volt outlets.  Like size AA batteries.  Like CD’s that work in any CD player.

        Like an OS that works on multiple devices, from multiple OEMs, on multiple networks, with many developers, with multiple App stores.  (Remember Best Buy is rumored to open an App store to compete with Amazon and Google’s Android app stores.)

        And Android is open source.  That is the one evolutionary characteristic for survival of the fittest that no other system has.  Google could go away and Android would continue — because it is in the carrier’s and OEM’s interest for it to continue because of the Apps and compatibility.

        1. On the topic of Android being Open Source, just look at Linux, while that is open source for years people have been stating that it will overtake Windows, it’s just a matter of time. The fact is, it won’t. Open Source itself is really only of value to the people who know what it is, and are willing to take the time to learn such. Rather than rehash my other reply, just check that one out. Don’t forget that Apple already is getting revenue out of Android users, Android users still buy music from iTunes. I have friends who use Android, yet also have an iPod touch, the reason why is they already have a vested interest in Apple. They don’t know how to actually transfer the music to their phone and some just don’t want to learn.

          All my statements that I do make are contingent on Apple continuing the same growth that they have once Steve Jobs passes the torch, which I suspect they will. With the closer integration now between the Desktop and Mobile that they have announced, there is no question in my mind that people who are invested in the Apple Ecosystem will not back out of it easily if at all. In essence Apple has become the next Microsoft because of how people are getting locked into a system that they have become accustomed to.

          1. The problem for Linux overtaking Windows was that Microsoft had an entrenched monopoly and a phenomena called lock-in.  Despite the predictions and wished, it was never going to happen.

            On Linux taking over the world, it already is.  Linux is in almost everything around us that has a microprocessor.  TiVos, televisions, set top boxes, cell phones (android, webos), printers, wifi routers, remote controls, children’s toys, personal media players, GPS navigators, DVD players, etc.  I could go on and on and provide some links to back this up.  But here is one:
            Click Television.  See how many TV’s since 2003 have Linux built in?  And that’s just one brand and one type of device (televisions).  Pretty much, if it has a microprocessor, but especially if it has a screen and GUI of any kind, chances are extremely high it has Linux inside.

            On the topic of easy to use, I would agree with you in the past, but not today.  It is true that Apple’s products are more polished.  Somewhat easier to use.  But not radically.  It’s not like comparing Mac to MS-DOS.  It’s like comparing Lexus to Honda.  The latter is good enough for most people, and more affordable.

            On the technical front, Apple is falling behind in a number of ways.

            While Android users may use iTunes for some (or all) of their music, this is not a huge profit for Apple.  Most of that money goes to the RIAA members.  Also there are alternatives such as Amazon which makes it easy to buy DRM-free mp3’s without installing any software.

            On compatibility, if I have an iPhone, it only works well with things in the Apple ecosystem.  Do you ever seriously believe that Apple is going to put an SD card or standard USB Host port on an iPad?  No way.  That would undermine the control of iTunes or iCloud.

            With Android, or heck, any other brand of mp3 player, I can plug it into anything I can buy at Target or Walmart.  Any OS, even Linux.  It just shows up as a drive, drag drop mp3’s or videos.  Done.  No software.  My mp3 can be plugged into my sister’s computer, something I can’t do with iTunes unless I want to accidentally sync my device and end up with my music erased and hers installed.  That’s not exactly “simple” to use.

            I understand your passion for Apple.  But I’m looking at objective evidence of what is happening in the industry, despite my past fondness for Apple, without regard to what I *want* to happen.

            In any event, thanks for your replies.

      3. In reply to your reply to me below.

        I believe Apple will be a minority player because of their closed and control freak nature.  Apple has changed the world more than once now.  But in order to dominate the world, you have to work with other players and build up an ecosystem that is compatible with everyone else.  Apple will never do this.

        Everyone else also wants to play.  Company X wants to build a cool smartphone.  Apple won’t license iOS.  So they’ll turn to Android.  Just like back in the day.  Company Y wants to build a PC, can’t license Mac OS, so they turn to MS DOS and later Windows.  Sad but true.

        You compare market share, but I would point out that Apple now has more of it than Apple, and in less time.  Android had to play catch up from several years behind.  Android already has more momentum.

        I understand your claim.  But it is unsupported by any evidence.  If anything, Apple will have less and less market share over time.

        (Just FYI, back in the day, I was a Lisa, then Mac developer from the early 80’s to early 90’s.  I was also a card carrying Apple fanboy.)

        1. I also was an Apple Fanboy as well since 95, and I even worked for Apple myself back in the mid-2000’s. Bought the iPhone right when it came out even though I told myself I never would, then I realised how closed the system was and switched away. You are right though, for a power user the closed system will screw them over, but the average user doesn’t know any better nor care really either.

          You also are right on the topic of the lack of evidence, the fact is I can only go by my experience. I see the field balancing out at this point, but I don’t see much more past that.

          I will say though, basing the technology turnover off the way the market used to be doesn’t work in today’s day and age, technology has changed. One great reason for the success of Android hands down was the fact that the iPhone wasn’t on Verizon. It allowed Android to gain momentum that it didn’t have before, which is a great thing. The iPhone isn’t selling like hotcakes on Verizon, but it isn’t not selling either. The pundits were wrong about people flocking to the iPhone on Verizon once it is available, but I know plenty of people who went iPad instead of iPhone and stuck with Android also. Android may be making up for Cell Phone marketshare, but iOS has a significant head start on tablets and mobile music devices, which unfortunately not many Android Manufacturers seem to be able to break into. (Closest I’ve seen is the Asus Transformer but no one has any hard sales figures on the number that has been sold so it’s hard to say if it’s a successful iPad competitor or not)

          1. As for iPhone on Verizon, that is good evidence.  It not only needs to sell like hotcakes, it needs to be on every other carrier in the entire world.  It isn’t.  It also needs to come in every price, size, color, shape, and configuration that people could possibly want.  It doesn’t.  It’s like trying to sell a Lexus that comes in exactly one configuration, and that you’re expected to replace every year, on exactly the day it is announced.  :-)  The problem is, it is now a crowded market with vast variety of choices.

            As for ease of use, I just don’t buy it.  Apple may have an edge, but not a very big one.  Any first rate moron can operate an Android phone.  My mother in law uses an Ubuntu computer, with no training, and I promise you she is not a power user.

            My point here is that the “ease of use” advantage is an illusion.  One Apple perpetuates.  It has a grain of truth to it, but not much more than that.  It is mostly about polish and prestige, not actual ease of use.

    2. Even if they offered it on Android right now for free, I’d never use it. 

  7. You’re paying Napster $100 a year to listen to your music? You probably need iCloud more than the rest of us. 

  8. Google Music is better- 20K songs online storage and streaming. I don’t have to sync it. I get to play it on anything I like. I don’t have to pay extra for music I already own. 

    iCloud is just a knockoff of dropbox

    1. Google Music is still in beta. They don’t charge people they invite to use the beta to use the beta. That last statement also proves you’ve done no proper research on iCloud and iTunes Match.

      1. Actually, Google Music lets you stream it AND download it.  So you don’t have to use precious data if you don’t want to.  On the other hand, you’re given the option to not have to use precious storage space and stream it if you prefer.  iCloud does appear to be little more than a dropbox knockoff.

        1. I didn’t think you could store locally – only stream. If someone knows of an app that can capture the stream then post it.

          1. The function exists within the Google Music app itself.  You just click the “Available Offline” button and the song will download to your device.

          2. This why Google rocks and crApple sucks. Only idiot buy music anymore. MP3 + uTorrent + Android = freedom. crApple + iTune = slavery! Go Android! Go world! Go freedom!

          3. @1eb53f4b9ea874c124bf9b4c0aded509:disqus You, sir, are an idiot. We buy music to support artists, and everyone whose work is in any way creative understand it. Stealing content doesn’t serve anyone.

        2. iCloud is itself is pretty much automatic sync-and-push dropbox, but how they handle music is different. With iCloud the data is at least already in it’s location.

    2. Still prefer to be able to sync onto my device. Who wants to use vital data usage everytime you need to listen to music. Also I prefer the thought of having all my music available when required and not worry about service availability of either carrier signal or fileservers.

  9. Oh really? So I can go to Google Music now? Let me go over there. *goes to* Oh look!! I haven’t been invited yet. Why do I need an invitation to a free service? From what I heard, you have to pay to use Google Music, and iCloud seems to be free.

    1. Well thats 100% false, you don’t have to pay for google music.
      Plus about icloud:
      The cloud based system allows users to store Music, Photos, Apps, iBooks and Contacts, as well as serving as a platform for Apple’s email servers, and calendars. Each account has 5GB of storage.
      So you have 5gb for non itunes music…plus you can’t stream and have to download all the stuff to your device.

      1. ” It is available free for a limited time” Then explain what this means? I just got invited today, and it says for a limited time. Does that mean available only in the US for an unlimited time or price?

        Hmm… I guess so, you guys are saying free…

    2. Well thats 100% false, you don’t have to pay for google music.

      1. Oh we pay allright. You just can’t connect the dots. You think Google are so altruistic.

        1. It has nothing to do with altruism.  Google will be able to collect data on my listening habits.  Apple will be able to do the same, but they’ll still charge you $25.

    3. iCloud costs $25 a year according to CNN.

  10. > I’m puzzled what you are think of that is copied from iPhone?
    How about the entire concept of a phone w/ a multitouch based user interface, app store etc… That aside, they didn’t even do a very good job of copying. Android is still choppy as hell and has the worse media player of any phone os… I like the fact that apple is not afraid to make iOS better by taking the good things from other OSs. It basically means that iOS users will have access to an OS that is the best of the best.

    1. No doubt that Android copied many ideas from Apple. Apple has now made improvements from ideas implemented from Android. Both borrowed ideas from other interfaces. Samsung copies its hardware forms from Apple. So what. Big deal. Get over it.

    2. The concept of multitouch was nothing revolutionary.  The app store was non-existent on the original iPhone and app-like store already existed on winmobile and Blackberry before the iPhone.

      As for the media player being the worse, that’s totally a matter of opinion. I actually like the media player on Android and can choose from a multitude of others in the market. The player on the iPhone is nothing special and do not in any way sound better. It may have some extra features (nothing that I care for) but that’s about it.  I had a 3g and the sound was actually less crisp than my Droid X.  And let’s not get into the absolute bloated, featureless mess, that is iTunes. I rather drag n drop or user media player.

      As for which OS is superior – it’s not even up for debate. IOS might be smooth but Android is superior in every other way – all my opinion.  IOS now has to copy to keep up and even then it will always be a few steps behind.

  11. Nah I don’t buy music anyway so I’m with Amazon & Google

  12. good luck sync shit at 1.4mbs download speed -_-
    im gonna try google music now
    11.mbs down on my mt4g

  13. You people thumping your chest announcing superiority of Google Music because it is free are in for a rude awakening. Apparently you guys forgot to actually read the part about how it is free only while it is beta.

  14. So basically Apple is stealing the Cloud music and docs idea from Google and Microsoft. Why shouldnt they sue Apple for every penny like Apple does all the time.
    Face it Apple is just another robber but talks posh.

  15. iCloud isn’t a streaming service, its basically itunes on the internet rather then on your computer. In fact the best comparison is probably valve’s steam service. Since now you dont have to pay money every time you download media, instead you buy the rights to the media and can sync it to all your apple devices as many times as you want, just like steam. Will not be surprised if an itunes web portal similar to the android market web portal is also on the cards. Its funny how iOS is finally becoming a “no pc required” product, over a year after jobs called the PC era dead.

  16. One huge advantage Google Music has over iCloud: Compatibility with Android.

    That alone could be enough to bury iCloud.

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