Google has made its free cloud storage service for music a bit more appealing, especially considering alternatives from Apple and Amazon.
Users can now store up to 50,000 songs for free in the cloud through the company's Google Play Music service, which also provides access to millions of songs through a paid subscription. Previously, the limit for free cloud storage was 20,000 songs.
With the growth of apps like Spotify, Rdio and Pandora, more digital music listeners are likely weighing the pros and cons of downloading and storing songs versus streaming them. But the storage boost for Google's cloud service, announced Wednesday, is a nice option that could help to keep downloading alive, by making it easier for people to listen to their stored songs while they're out and about.
With Google Play Music, users can upload their songs to the cloud, and stream or download them to their Android or Apple phone, tablet or desktop computer.
The enhancement also bests cloud storage alternatives offered by some of Google's biggest rivals. Apple lets customers store up to 25,000 songs in the cloud through its iTunes Match service, but that costs US$24.99 a year. Amazon lets customers upload only 250 songs to the cloud for free, though they can buy an Amazon Music subscription for $24.99 to increase that limit to 250,000 songs. Microsoft's Xbox Music service lets people stream their personal music to their Windows devices, albeit with advertisements if people don't pay for Xbox Music Pass.
With Google's option, to upload the songs, users can go to play.google.com/music. The process involves downloading either Google's Chrome app or Music Manager app, which lets users decide how much bandwidth to use for the upload.
Google says its Play Music service offers 30 million songs, which can be accessed ad-free for $9.99 per month. With the free uploads, the company, clearly, is honing in on the competition. "You can choose to simply upload your entire iTunes library," Google said in its announcement on Wednesday, "or select other music folders."
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