Google‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG) music service, Google Play Music, has just rolled out a music-matching feature.
The service, which will compete with similar features from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), allows a user’s music to be matched in the cloud so that songs can be played on any authorized device, Cloudpro.com reports. All three companies’ systems scan the user’s hard drives for music and then make the same songs available in the cloud, eliminating the need for each device to store that music.
The idea of matching music files allows for greater portability. Using such a service lets households share music across devices and locations without needing to sync the devices with a home base. Wherever users are, if they’re connected to the Internet, they have their music.
The systems also allow for music to be used on different devices. If a user purchases music for one device, other devices can play it, even at higher bit rates if other devices are capable of using a higher-quality format.
Google’s offering has one big difference: It’s free. Unlike Apple’s $25 per year service and Amazon’s, which also costs $25 per year but has a limited free option, Google has no plans to charge users for matching their music in the cloud.