Android hackers have discovered that Google's cloud-based music service is up and running, for those prepared to muck about with the internals of Honeycomb at least.
Google has been widely expected to launch a cloud-based music service – an online store of your existing collection – and that‘s exactly what's been found in the Honeycomb media player.
Those willing to install the latest build, which isn't yet supported by Google, have been able to synchronise their music collections with Google's cloud and then stream the tracks back after deleting the local files.
That is of limited value of course, it only frees up some space on the phone, and Google‘s system will no doubt come with a desktop client too, so that music synchronised to the cloud can be accessed by different devices.
This approach has been tried before, with service providers arguing that they don't need to worry about copyright as Fair Use provisions allow owners to make copies of purchased music, and the fact that those copies happen to be located in the cloud is irrelevant. The record labels haven't, in the past, been sympathetic to such arguments, which don't apply in the UK anyway as we have no provision for fair use.
The hack has been repeated by others on the XDA Developers' Forum, several of whom report being able to stream music reliably from Google's cloud into handsets with Gingerbread installed.
Building synchronisation into the Gingerbread media player shows Google's commitment to provide such a service, but it's hard to imagine the copyright holders are going to take this lying down.
Google has shown itself willing to ride roughshod over such interests in the past, and will no doubt be equal to the task this time around too. ®