updated 07:40 pm EDT, Thu March 24, 2011
Google Music at last testing internally
Google Music is finally at the point where it's being tested internally, according to tips Thursday afternoon. The streaming service for at least Android and the web is being used by Google staff for day-to-day tasks, usually a sign that it's close to being complete. One "vital component" is still missing for a release, CNET was told, although it wasn't said what that was.
The issue may continue to be negotiations with music labels, which even now are still supposed to be ongoing. Google is still demanding that the service focus on a cloud media locker that would store not just tracks bought or subscribed to directly from Google Music but anything in a personal collection. Labels have either been unsure as to how to go ahead or have tried to double-dip on revenues by charging extra to remote play music a customer already owns.
A widely known attempt had been made to launch Google Music in 2010, but the lack of deals sank any prospects.
Pressure to go ahead with the service has been constant and coming mostly from Apple. It has repeatedly confirmed that it plans to use its datacenter for iTunes and MobileMe in the spring for what most have interpreted as cloud media services. Its strategy would be similar to Google's and would give access to iTunes music libraries from iOS devices and most likely iTunes on other computers, or even the web.
Apple could beat Google if talk of an April iOS-focused event is true. Google frequently holds special events, but it already has Google I/O looming in spring.