Google buys PushLife to challenge iTunes

The battle for convenience in smartphone music management is just beginning, and Google is building its arsenal.

Google's acquisition of PushLife could make Apple's iTunes look like a digital music dinosaur.

Techworld: How to get free iTunes music

Google and PushLife confirmed the acquisition on Monday, and while it's not clear what purpose PushLife will serve, it's pretty easy to guess how the technology could tie in to Google's rumored music service.

PushLife's existing Android and Blackberry apps act as stand-ins for the iPod app found on Apple's iPhone. Users can purchase and play music from the app on their phones, and then sync with either iTunes or Windows Media Player on their computers using a desktop plug-in.

This app will be discontinued, and I'm guessing the company's future work will have nothing to do with iTunes integration. For Google, the most important element of PushLife can be found at the 1:16 mark in this video from MobileSyrup. It shows the user browsing his computer's music library from the phone, and transferring individual songs with a single tap. The user can also manage playlists on the phone and sync them across all devices.

In other words, Google could be giving music buffs the wireless music syncing that iTunes notoriously lacks. But let's take this a step further: a key component of Google Music, rumors suggest, will be a digital music locker that lets users store all their songs online. Imagine using PushLife's system to pull in music from the cloud instead of a remote PC. This would essentially decentralize the music library, so the user is no longer tied to a single computer or restrained by storage space This would be huge.

Apple likes to brag about how the iPhone gives users an iPod in their phones, but the software has barely changed since the original iPhone's debut in 2007. Users must still rely on a PC and a wired connection to manage their libraries and playlists. But this may be changing, with Apple reportedly working on its own music locker.

The battle for convenience in smartphone music management is just beginning. Despite my speculation, we don't know exactly what Google will do with PushLife, but it certainly looks like a handy addition to Google's arsenal.

Follow Jared on Facebook and Twitter as well as Today @ PCWorld for even more tech news and commentary.

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Tags internetbusiness issuesGoogleApplewebiTunesmedia streamingMergers / acquisitions

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Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
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