Evidence is surfacing that Google is working on an iTunes competitor for the Android platform. The app if and when released, will stream music to the android devices from Google’s cloud infrastructure. There is a high likelihood that Google’s music service will be subscriptions based, similar to Spotify.
Google’s Music Streaming service was unearthed by an XDA forum user, who first noticed the feature while installing the music player that ships with Android HoneyComb on his Android phone running a previous version of Android. As soon as the new music player was installed on the Android phone, it started syncing music files with Google’s cloud infrastructure. Once the music files got synced, the user was able to listen to his songs, even after deleting the files locally. The user named WhiteWidows, had the following to say:
I reporting back on something I stumbled on yesterdays after updating to the latest CM7 2.3.3 build. After updating I have been removing the sock music app then replacing it with the Honeycomb version. Upon that I was prompted with several permissions request and accepted them all. Syncing then started and I checked that under that under Account and Sync notice Music was syncing. This synced overnight. I put in a empty SDcard in. Then I went in to the Jumper Test that comes along with the Music app started the peer under the Controls tab, Ran a test under the Logs tab ( showed 785 files and the files names below) went back to the music app then went to music settings and checked Stream Music and my music started to show up! Played a few songs no problems at all. Let me know if this is working for anyone else.
The music player does not performs the cloud syncing function on Android HoneyComb, which might be a result of the feature being disabled for the time-being. There is no official word from Google on the service. However, it seems that the launch of a long awaited iTunes competitor from Google could finally be at hand.
Google’s struggle to launch such a service had more to do with getting the music companies in line, than the technology challenge itself. The music labels were reluctant to enter into a subscription based licensing deal with any company due to the fear that it will not be as profitable as the fee-based download model.
However, the run away success of Spotify – which is subscription based music streaming service, might have forced the hands of music companies. There has been reports that Apple is also working on a cloud based storage for iTunes. Although the initial idea behind Apple’s initiative is to provide flexibility in music downloads to iTunes users along with a backup of their music library – it could easily become the stepping stone for Apple’s very own subscription based music streaming service.