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Google I/O: Google Music Beta goes live

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Google’s hotly anticipated I/O 2011 conferenence has just opened its doors to a frenzy of journalists and Google fans.

With minutes until the first keynote takes place, it seems Google have begun sending out VIP invites to the much rumoured Google Music service. The screenshot above is from one of the VIP invites, and indicates that a Beta testing version of the Music streaming service will be on it’s way very shortly. As expected, there will be a PC based client as well as cloud streaming functionality to Android Tablets and Mobile Phones.

We’re going to sit tight and keep our eyes on the Live Stream from the Google I/O conference now, but we’ll be sure to update this post with the latest official info from the first keynote. Stay tuned!

Update: The Google Music app is now available from the Android Market now. Get it here!

Update 2: As expected, Google have confirmed their new Cloud-based music streaming service, Music Beta, during their first Keynote at the I/O Conference.

Music Beta is a complete Music Streaming solution which runs on PC and Mac, Android Smartphones, Android Tablet devices and soon Google TV. Google are giving each user the capacity to upload 20,000 audio tracks to their own “digital locker” hosted by Google. Simply sign in to your Google account on your Android Smartphone or Tablet, or using the Desktop software, and you’ll have access to your entire library without having to store it on the memory of your device.

Music Manager is the PC client for the software,  and runs within your browser. You can easily import your iTunes or Windows Media Player Library into it, including play counts and playlists. Once your music is safely within Music Manager, you can listen to it on your PC as you would with iTunes or WMP, and upload everything to the Google Cloud system, including playlists.

Once you’ve got your media safely stored in the cloud, you can stream it to an Android device that has the Music Beta app installed (see above for a download link). Of course, you’ll need a data connection on your smartphone or tablet to stream the media, but if you don’t have a connection there’s no need to worry. Music Beta will automatically cache your recently played tracks, meaning you can play them without the need for a data connection. Google also confirmed you’ll be able to select Artists, Albums and Tracks and choose the “Make Offline” feature to allow for playback without a data connection.

Another interesting feature Google presented is “Instant Mix”. It works with Music Manager and Music Beta and is sort of like iTunes’ “Genius” feature. Simply play a track, hit the Instant Mix option and the software will build you a playlist of up to 25 songs based on the first song played, and your listening habits. Nothing groundbreaking, but neat.

The some 5000 in attendance of the first keynote at Google’s I/O conference will receive Beta invites to the service, and for now the service is US only. Interestingly, when explaining this part of the software, the phrase “while in beta, it’s free” was used. Perhaps Google plan to charge users for the service once it exits beta testing, or perhaps they plan to charge for extra Cloud storage space. We’ll have to sit tight and wait to see. In the meanwhile, why don’t you check out Google’s video about the service below. Go on.

What do you think of Google’s new Music Beta service? Can’t wait to get it working for your Android Smartphone or Tablet Device? Let us know your thoughts  by leaving a comment or send us a tweet @Gadget_Helpline.