Google just recently launched Google Play, an effort to unify their app store, book store, and digital content offerings such as music and movies. The move is absolutely perfect, and something I've been saying Apple must do. I've been contending for about a year that it's time for Apple to move iTunes and the App Store into one, clean, cloud based, retail outlet. Apple does everything for a reason, and I think it's very telling that they choose to launch a new App store instead of integrate apps into iTunes. I've also contended that Apple should launch a mobile payment service with the Apple ID. Well Apple hasn't implemented any of my ideas (shocking), but Google has.
It a perfect move, Google has consolidated all of their digital services to one store, Google Play, with seamless cloud integration to your phone and tablet. You can even buy apps in the app store from your computer and have them automatically installed on your phone. Seamlessly share content on your computer with books, movies, and music. There really isn't anything revolutionary about most of the services, save the incredible integration that I fully anticipate will drive much deeper consumer engagement and profits.
Above all of this integration one product, Google Music, does stand out as an exceptional solution. Google music offers the ability to purchase tracks from a cloud based system and share them instantly across all devices. It also allows you to upload 20,000 tracks you already own, for free, and add them to all devices with their powerful cloud service. Google offers a cleaner interface than iTunes, more powerful cloud based services, and the ability to upload existing tracks for free (iTunes is a paid service). Coupled with the perfect cloud integration of other apps, movies, and books, and Google music becomes an awesome option... and I'll never use it.
You see iTunes, Amazon, and Google, are competing against each other in the music realm with Google starting to get an edge (even though you might not know it). The problem is the fight doesn't matter because they are all blindly committed to a battle that is becoming irrelevant thanks to Spotify. Want to play tracks you already own? Spotify can do that. Cloud based service where my tracks are available on all devices? Spotify can do that too. But here is the kicker, Spotify gives you access to their entire catalog of music anytime, anywhere, for as little as $0 a month. That's right, you can have access to any song, anytime, for free! Seriously, no catch, just free (with appropriate ad support). Spotify isn't perfect, but it is the future. The innovation that Spotify has brought to the music marketplace is what iTunes once did a decade ago.
Google music is awesome, but I'll never use it because Spotify is so much better. I'd love to dive into the cloud based freedom and simplicity of Google, or maybe even iTunes, but it's just not worth it. The question really is, who will win the inevitable digital content revolution 2.0? Will Google, Apple, or Amazon buy Spotify, launch a competitive service, or will Spotify be able to launch movies and TV shows (see Netflix), books, and other digital content? The power of the cloud comes in integration and simplicity. Greater integration will drive greater adoption across product lines, which has benefited Google, Amazon, and Apple recently. None of it is enough, though, to keep consumers away from Spotify. It's a game changing business model innovation and I'm still waiting to see if these once innovative tech giants can get past their own egos and respond. Only time will tell.