The Top 20 Tech Stories of 2011


Music in the Clouds

Cloud computing continued to be a big deal in 2011, particularly for music. Several services gave us the opportunity to store all our digital music on remote servers, freeing up our local storage devices or giving us the peace of mind that our music is backed up on another machine. Others gave us the chance to listen to our favorite tunes through streaming audio.

Three of the biggest launches in the United States included Amazon's Cloud Drive and Player, Google Music and Apple iCloud. Both Google and Amazon require users to upload existing music libraries to their services, a process that can take several hours if you have a huge library or a slow Internet connection. Apple's approach is to port all your iTunes music into iCloud. For a fee, you can have iTunes match songs in your library you've collected through other means to songs in the iTunes database.

All three services allow you to store music in the cloud. Google Music and Amazon Cloud Player give you streaming options to listen to your music. And all three services tie into music stores, giving you the chance to buy songs and have them instantly stored in your cloud account.