Google Music Beta Page Is Live (Updated!)

 

It begins. Google’s cloud service for music is live for everyone at music.google.com/music, but not available for use, as you have to request an invite. Until the Google I/O 2011 keynote states what Google Music actually does, this is all you have to know about:

Music Beta is a new service from Google that gives you instant access to your personal music collection without the hassle of wires or syncing. Add your music collection and listen on the web or any compatible Android device.

Looks a lot like Amazon Cloud Player.

Update: It’s official. Google Music Beta will launch in the U.S. for now, only via invitation, or via Xoom and Google I/O attendees. The Music Beta is based in the cloud and allows you to stream up to 20,000 songs free by uploading them from your PC or Mac via an exportation app. Offline listening is available as well, as some songs can get cached for offline listening. The Music app is available for Android 2.2+ devices, including Android 3.0 to 3.1 Honeycomb tablets.

Microsoft Has Purchased Skype For A Rather Large $8.5 Billion

Microsoft just bought Skype for $8.5 billion. What comes out of the deal is that one, Microsoft and Skype will bring Skype to Kinect and Xbox, as well as tight Windows Phone integration. Also, the new Microsoft Skype Division will be open to accommodate Skype/Microsoft management, while current Skype CEO Tony Bates will be the head of that operation, and will be reporting directly to Steve Ballmer.

Also, Skype will stay a multi-platform application, meaning all platforms that are supported at the moment will stay.

Press release after the jump. Via: Microsoft

Apple Has Surpassed Google As The Most Valuable Brand In The World

According to a report from advertising firm WPP’s “BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands” study, Apple has surpassed Google as the mast valuable brand in the world, with their brand value exploding to an unbelievable 859% since 2006 and increased 84% to $153.3 billion this year alone. AT&T, China Mobile, IBM, and Microsoft all are in the top-10 most valuable brands list, while McDonald’s is the only non-tech company in the top-5. This ends Google’s four-year reign as most valuable brand in the world, while Amazon passed Walmart by as the No. 1 retailer overall. Check past the break for WPP’s official report.

Windows Phone 7.5 ‘Mango’ Details Leaked

We’ve just come off of the NoDo update which brings copy-and-paste for Windows Phone 7, but now is the time to start looking forward to the next update, Windows Phone 7.5 ‘Mango’, which should bring multitasking support, Bing Audio, an app will identify songs by listening to the music in question, a la Shazam or SoundHound; Bing Vision, which will be barcode scanning along with a ton of camera-assisted search functions, turn-by-turn navigation in Bing Maps, speech recognition support in the messaging app and a new native podcast player. None of the aforementioned has been confirmed by Microsoft, but if the past is any way to learn about Windows Phone 7 software updates, if the source is reliable with past updates, then we can feel comfortable about this leak.

Via: WindowsPhoneSecrets, BGR

Sony PlayStation Network Downtime Should Last Until A Damning May 31st

Geez. A Sony spokesperson told Bloomberg recently that they expect the PlayStation Network servers and services to go online May 31st, which would mean since PSN went down on April 20th, and that it would take them six weeks in total to figure out that they’ve been hacked, invite high-level digital security firms to help with figuring that out, fixing and updating servers, writing several blog posts about how they’re sorry, finally decide to move their servers to “a safer location”, then hitting the “On” switch.

It’s a lot of work, but six weeks? Come on, Sony. Via: Bloomberg

Amazon Cloud Player Now Working On iOS Devices Via Safari Browser!

Both desktop and Android users have had something that every iOS owner (or at least many) have wanted ever since it launched: Amazon Cloud Player support via an app or the web. Well, guess what? By some magical (read: great) tweaking by the Amazon geeks, the Cloud Player now works on the Safari browser that is on iOS devices. If you happen to see any “unsupported browser” warnings, just ignore them and continue to the app. There you can select you music that the big labels are extremely uncomfortable with Amazon hosting for you in the cloud, at little to no cost, and to your full enjoyment. Also, the music plays in the background while performing other tasks (like typing this post), pauses when notifications pop-up and works rather flawlessly, as tested on my iPad 2 running iOS 4.3.3.
Via: Amazon Cloud Player, TC

Sony CEO Howard Stringer Apologizes For PSN Outage, Details Its Return

If you’re an angry gamer (and if so, I don’t really like you) then Sony’s CEO, Howard Stringer has some words for the angry, surprised, carefree, and others who have had their PlayStation Network access halted for almost a full month now. First of all, Stringer goes on to apologize in the letter seen in blockquote below, then afterwards in his PlayStation Blog post details the “Welcome Back” package which will apply to all PlayStation users and offers one free month of the PlayStation Plus service, as well as a refund for those already subscribing to PSN+. Also mentioned in the letter is the $1 million identity theft protection for users’ credit cards, but as Mr. Howard Stringer claims, there is no current evidence of any credit card information being stolen from users.

Howard Stringer’s apology to PSN users:

“I know some believe we should have notified our customers earlier than we did. It’s a fair question. As soon as we discovered the potential scope of the intrusion, we shut down the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services and hired some of the best technical experts in the field to determine what happened. I wish we could have gotten the answers we needed sooner, but forensic analysis is a complex, time-consuming process. Hackers, after all, do their best to cover their tracks, and it took some time for our experts to find those tracks and begin to identify what personal information had — or had not — been taken.

He later goes on to mention that the PlayStation Network should be up “in the coming days”.
Via: PS Blog