May 9, 2011 at 9:19 PM ET
Google is likely to introduce a cloud-based music service at its I/O developer conference this week, according a report in the Wall Street Journal, which also says that Apple is finalizing its own "much more robust" iTunes-in-the-cloud.
The service will be similar to Amazon's Cloud Player, in that it would allow users to upload their own songs and then stream them anywhere via phone or PC. It would be more limited, however: Unlike Amazon, Google apparently will not allow users to download the tracks they've stored in the cloud.
Neither Amazon nor Google has secured additional music licensing in order to launch their initial cloud players. However, the Journal — citing unnamed sources "familiar with the matter" throughout the piece — says that Amazon is busy securing music-label deals that would make its Cloud Player even more "ambitious." For instance, with the right licensing in place, rather than make people store every song in their own personal cloud locker, Amazon could build a central server that could stream the same song to many users.
Meanwhile, Apple appears to be taking a more label-friendly approach, going after deals up front, before launching. It seems paperwork is the only hold-up, in fact. "It is unclear when Apple might launch such a service, but most of the technical work has been complete for months," says the Journal.
Stay tuned, because it won't be long before we hear Google's news from the horse's mouth.