The world's largest etailer Amazon has stolen a jump on Google and Apple by launching an online service called Cloud Drive which can also stream the user's music files via the Cloud Player.
The Amazon Cloud Drive service provides 5GB of online storage for free but if customers buy an album from Amazon MP3 then the storage limit will be increased to a generous 20GB.
Google and Apple are reportedly also set to launch cloud-based music streaming storage solutions which will enable their customers to store entire music tracks online, regardless of whether purchased through the commercial store of iTunes or the upcoming Google Music.
Curiously while Amazon Cloud Drive may be used by Amazon customers worldwide, simply by visiting the link to the Cloud Drive and clicking past a capcha-type verification, visiting the Cloud Player itself results in a message that the service is US only.
Even more strangely, after signing up to the Amazon Cloud Drive, visiting the Cloud Player link results in no such message, offers up the AmazonMP3Upload utility and streams music without issue.
It's not clear if the US-only restriction is a mistake or if a technical hitch is allowing the Cloud Drive and Cloud Player to work outside of the US.
Uploading files that are not MP3 files needs to be performed in the web interface for Cloud Drive while the Amazon MP3 Uploading utility is an Adobe AIR application that scans local drives and offers to upload music in MP3, WMV and AAC formats.
Music stored on the Amazon Cloud Drive can not only be streamed from the Cloud Player web application but also from Cloud Player application for Android smartphones.