Google Offers iTunes Match-Like Service For Free
Google has never been shy about entering businesses dominated by Apple. Steve Jobs made it very public that he felt that Android was ripping off the iPhone. Eric Schmidt had to resign from Apple's board over "conflict of interest" in 2009 due to Android and Chrome OS. In 2011 Google made it clear that it would take on one of Apple's most successful businesses, music.
Google Music debuted on November 16, 2011 and featured a music store as well as an area on Android Market where Android users could purchase music. In May 2011 Google announced its streaming music service called Music Beta. Music Beta would eventually take on the Google Music name and allow users to stream music that was scanned from their personal music library or purchased from the Google Music store through desktop browsers, Android phones and tablets. The scan could take days to complete depending on how large your music collection was.
Today Google went a step further and announced that it would begin offering users in the U.S. the ability to match up to 20,000 songs from their music collection and allow users to stream the music back at up to 320kbps for free. This move is in direct competition against Apple's iTunes Match which lets users match their library with music on the iTunes store and stream to iOS devices, Mac, and PC.
The main difference is that Apple charges users $24.99 per year to use the service for 25,000 songs, while Google is now offering the service for free. Hopefully Apple will try to counter this and either offer a lower price or match Google by making iTunes Match free. We as music lovers can only hope!