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Is the new share-anything Google Docs the precursor to Google's in-the-cloud music service?

Late last week Google turned on 'public sharing' in Docs. You could always share files with friends or via an obfuscated 'secret link', but the idea of public, searchable links is something new. Not only is it an issue for piracy -- I tested it with a 350MB TV show, and it worked fine! -- but this could also be the opening salvo of Google's counterattack against Dropbox and Microsoft's SkyDrive.

But enough of the public sharing feature! I'm sure you don't need me to tell you about the possibilities of cheap, API-accessible cloud storage. This is actually an excuse for me to play catch-up: Google Docs now lets you upload almost any kind of file! This functionality was originally turned on six months ago, but it's the kind of thing that most people wouldn't discover on their own. But the plot thickens...

The inner scientist compelled me to try out as many file formats as possible. AVI, RAR, ZIP, BMP, EXE, MSI -- the list goes on -- and when combined with help of a Download Squad reader, we tested an exhaustive list of 30 popular file formats. The results are interesting: everything worked fine, except for music files. For some reason, FLAC files have their extension removed, and M4A and ALAC have their extensions changed to 'MP3'. MP3s and OGG files are left unscathed.

Now, it would make sense for Google Docs to be the One Repository To Rule Them All -- why should accessing your music on your phone be any different from accessing your work? -- but... why would music formats be renamed? No other file types were renamed. That sounds a lot like either buggy legacy code, or that the Android music cloud-sharing service is quite tightly linked to Google Docs.

I think something juicy is going on behind the scenes.

With Android now mainstream and the imminent release of Chrome OS, I think we're about to see some sexy cloud storage services from Google.

Update: A commenter has suggested that we do some speed and bandwidth testing for this new feature. Is there a limit to how many gigabytes each Google Docs account can transfer in a month? Grab the 100MB test file and post your transfer speed in the comments!

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Tags: audio, cloud, dropbox, google, google apps, google docs, GoogleApps, GoogleDocs, music, skydrive, storage

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