Everyone keeps on saying that the cloud is the future, but I didn’t really see it taking off…until today. The Interweb is ablaze with news of Apple’s new iTunes Match service, as well as Pogoplug, a previously unknown player in the game of clouds. I hereby deem November 14 “Day of the Cloud.” Of course, companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple have been running cloud service for a few months now, but only today did it become a huge deal. Why? Well, let’s dissect what’s so important in these two unrelated services.
Match is being touted as a game changer in the world of the cloud. The subscription-based service can sync your iTunes library to the cloud, organize it, identify songs that are already in the iTunes store, add the 256kbps, DRM-free versions to your cloud, and upload anything else it can’t find, up to 25,000 songs (not including songs purchased from the iTunes store, which don’t count towards your total). I know that was a mouthful, so let’s sum it up: it finds what’s already on the net to keep you from having to upload it yourself. It even syncs all of your playlists across devices. All you have to do is pay a yearly $24.99 fee. The service is in such high demand that it already oversubscribed, and Apple’s servers unable to activate new users – though that problem has been mostly fixed by now.
Washington Post took the words right out of my mouth: “As some users have pointed out, in some ways Apple is offering a $25 per year amnesty to music pirates, who will be able to match their pirated tracks. And, in some cases, they’ll even get them in higher quality, since Apple will play back any song at 256-Kbps, regardless of the state of the original track.” Score one for the future of music!
Until today I had no idea what Pogoplug was, let alone that it even existed. But now I can’t scroll through a single tech blog without seeing the name pop up. They’re offering a free 5 GB of cloud space to anyone who signs up, but that’s not what is so special about their service. They claim to be the only cloud service that offers “infinite expansion.” Basically, once their server runs out of space for all your shit, you can buy a Pogoplug box – your very own cloud server – and upload to your heart’s content, with no monthly fees. That kind of freedom, from a company that was never mentioned in the cloud race until today, is a big deal.
Google Music Shop
It’s important to note: the first images of Google’s music service, the direct competitor to the iTunes Store and Match, leaked today. There’s no one to confirm the legitimacy of the pictures, but if they are real then Google is readying to compete not only with Apple, but with Amazon’s Cloud Player as well. We hear that the store might be plugged right into the Android Marketplace, cutting around the need for an app.