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Google Music Beats iTunes to the Cloud

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One thing's for sure: You can't keep a hacking community down. Leave a shred of evidence of an upcoming gadget or service, and some modder or code junkie will leak it.

Such was the case for Google Music -- the search giant's long-awaited, highly anticipated, cloud-based music service. Posting in XDA Developers message board, a user named WhiteWidows recently broke the news.

The developer managed to install the Motorola Xoom music app -- the Honeycomb version -- onto his Android smartphone and checked the phone's sync settings. And there, in between Google Reader and Picasa's synchronization settings, was "Sync Music." No such setting is visible on the Xoom.

But here's where things get interesting.

The user was able to sync his entire music library from his Android's memory card with Google's servers. He swapped out that SD card for a blank one and the service downloaded all the files onto the second card. According to the message board, others were able to replicate the process.

Beyond refilling an empty SD card and presumably syncing your music library across numerous devices, Google Music's potential isn't yet known. Will it allow users to play their library from the cloud and not their SD cards? Will there be an upload limit? Will users be able to share music? Will there ultimately be a subscription fee?

None of that is known. But what is certain is that Apple better shove iTunes onto the cloud and release it to the public lest another competitor beats them to the punch.

(See also: Google, Apple Need to Organize Streaming Music Market)
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