Google is introducing a service that lets users store their music remotely and access it from any compatible device, including mobile phones, tablets and computers.
Google Inc. said the service initially will be available by invitation. The service, "Music Beta by Google" will be free at first while it is being tested. The company, which made announcement at its yearly conference for software developers in San Francisco, did not say what it plans to charge later.
Users will be able to load up to 20,000 songs to "the cloud" - tech speak for storing data on remote servers and accessing them through an Internet connection. They can create playlists manually, or based on a particular song, which adds songs to a playlist that sounds similar to and goes well with that song. Think of it as the Internet radio service Pandora, but based on your own music collection.
Google said users will be able to store up to 20,000 songs.
The long-awaited offering competes with Amazon's cloud-based music service, which also lets users play songs they have uploaded to the cloud on their computer or on a smartphone that runs Google's Android. Apple Inc. is also thought to be working on a similar service.
What's still unclear is whether the recording industry will go along with the service. Google did not mention recording deals in its announcement Tuesday. The Recording Industry Association of America declined to comment.
Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., also introduced a movie rental service that's now available on the Android market, its answer to Apple's app store. Movies are available to rent for $1.99, $2.99 or $3.99.
And in a future-is-now moment, the company previewed a service it is calling Android@Home, which lets Android applications interact with appliances and electronic gadgets in homes. With it, users will be able to use their Android-based devices to control lights, dishwashers, music players or a slew of other devices.