The much-anticipated Google Music service has been spotted in the wild. Not yet officially launched, an apparently unfinished version of the service has been found by hackers toying around with a new version of the Android operating system.
As explained by Business Insider, a post at the XDA Developers Forum described finding this music service after installing Honeycomb, a version of the Android platform made especially for tablets, on a phone that was running an earlier version of Android.
It appears that this version of Google Music uploads every single track in a collection rather than matching the track to a centrally stored file, thus saving upload time and storage space. The original post described a person's phone syncing 785 tracks overnight from a phone's SD memory card to a remote server. After removing the SD card the next morning, a test revealed the songs played from the cloud with "no problems at all." Other people on the message board followed the same steps to access Google Music and also report being able to sync their music files.
Signs point to this version of Google Music being a work in progress. One person on the message board bemoaned the lack of a progress bar or some other measure of activity; such a feature is standard on cloud-based services that upload users' tracks to remote servers. Some people noted that the service syncs only those tracks on the mobile phone's SD memory card, not the user's personal computer (where most of a music collection tends to be stored). And a few people reported buggy performance, although there is a fix that apparently solved that issue for many people.
Google Music does not yet have an official launch date and is the focus of constant speculation. But as Billboard reported in February, Google has built up the music team for an eventual product launch. The team is lead by Andy Rubin, Google VP of engineering. Jamie Rosenberg, director of product management for Android, is in charge of the Android Market and is leading the development of the music portion of the store. Tim Quirk, head of global content programming for Android, was a VP at Rhapsody prior to joining Google. Doug Lucas, Partnerships Director at Google UK, is heading up Google Music's international development. He was VP of digital business development at EMI before joining Google.