Amazon Launches Cloud-Based Streaming Service

Cloud Drive and Cloud Player will allow users to stream their music files from Amazon's computers

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Amazon has launched Cloud Player and Cloud Drive today, a new service that will allow customers to store music files on the company's servers but stream the content on their computers and mobile devices. Amazon is advertising the product as a way of streamlining the management of digital music collections, both in terms of providing easier access to files and preventing the possibility of losing everything in a disk drive crash.

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Amazon is offering 5GBs of their Cloud Drive service for free, and charging for additional space. The retailer is also giving away 20GBs of space to those who purchase an MP3 album from the Amazon music store. Though the Cloud Drive will immediately store and stream anything purchased from the Amazon digital store, the service will be compatible with AAC files from Apple's iTunes store.

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Google and Apple have also been developing cloud-based storage systems for streaming, but Amazon is the first major digital media company to actually debut their cloud service. Earlier this month, hackers discovered that Google's cloud-based service was operational, though the company is still tinkering with that product.