Google Music plays up sharing, free storageWeb sites black out their pages to protest online censorship and SOPA, the Salvation Army is using Square, and Google Music arrives with free online storage, music sharing tools, and a few freebies.
-It's Thursday, November 17th of 2011. I'm Bridget Carey on CNET.com, and it's time to get loaded. Google Music has arrived, and it's coming out swinging at iTunes. Okay. So, here's the breakdown of how it works. You can buy music from Google Music from 3 of the 4 major music labels. It will be in the Android Store. You can upload up to 20,000 songs in your personal library to Google's online servers for free. So, you can access your music from any computer or Android-based device like a phone or tablet. Google will recommend songs based on what you and your friends like. A friend can let you listen to a song or album they own. So, there's also this feature for independent musicians called Artists Tab. Bands distribute their own music and set their own song prices. They just have to pay Google $25 to create a page and Google keeps 30% of the sales from the songs. And to lure you in, there's some exclusive music on there like 6 never released concerts from the Rolling Stones or Coldplay concert, and Busta Rhymes has a single available for free. T-Mobile customers can have whatever they buy in Google Music billed directly to their T-Mobile account and they get extra perks like today, there's free music from Maroon 5, Drake and Busta Rhymes. To show disapproval of the Anti-Piracy Bill being heard in Congress, several websites are symbolically blocking out their front pages or throwing up pop-ups on the screen. The reason being, this company said the Bill, called The Stop Online Piracy Act, would allow for Congress to censor the internet. So, sites like Tumblr were blocking out all their texts and others put up fake banners blocking access to the site. So, it would show what it would be like if the internet was censored, and thereby encouraging visitors to contact the representatives. But some sites like Boing Boing had to take it down because some users could bypass the block banner and actually use the site. When you see the Salvation Army bell ringers in front of stores this holiday, you don't need to put cash in their buckets, but you can give them your card. The charity is using Square, the mobile payment card swiper that attaches to mobile devices. The Salvation Army is testing this new technology because it says many people just don't carry cash anymore. AOL Instant Messenger-- Yes, that's right, we're talking about AOL-- is getting a refresh, the biggest revamp it has done in years to add more pizzazz to the fading service. It will show web-based photos and videos in the chat window and sync your conversations across various devices, and the Buddy List, it's now your AIM friends listed in order by who you most recently chatted with. AIM has been struggling to stay relevant as more people use Facebook and Google Mail for chatting, and currently, AIM is in third place behind Yahoo Messenger and Windows Live Messenger. ComScore estimated AIM's visitors dropped 65% the past year. It had about 4.9 million users last month. Those were your headlines for today. I'm Bridget Carey for CNET.com, and you've just been loaded. -Goodbye. I have done--