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back to article Breaking Google's last taboo

Google has traditionally charged into other business areas with all the subtlety of a bull in a china shop. This isn't always a bad thing: there are plenty of cosy industries that are ripe for a shake-up, and advertising is one of the cosiest. But there's one area that's been strictly taboo. Google has always linked to other …

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yawn

Wake me when they announce they'll being carrying FLAC encoded songs.

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FLAC

Exactly. When I'm being charged as much or more per-track than I would be buying the CD, why on Earth should I receive an inferior product? Sure, MP3s are mostly fine for portable music if the bit rate is high enough, but on decent hi-fi equipment the difference is more noticeable.

Besides, it's the principle of the thing. If I buy music, I want to buy the original product (precisely the bits that would appear on the CD) which I can then go on to re-encode as I see fit. I do not want to buy an already-munged version of the music, encoded by an unspecified encoder with unspecified settings.

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re: FLAC

Totally down with that, man.

Mind you, as I recall, the high point at which the human ear stops being able to discern resolution is about the 128k mark, and anything above that is gravy.

That said, I usually prefer FLAC -- if I can get it -- for things like cleaned-up vinyl rips or rips of bootleg live material, ripped at at least 320k. They take longer to download, but it's worth the wait to be able to decode them to high-rate wavs for burning to CD, and then, if I wish, exporting them to mp3 for queing up in iTunes, which I have running on my "tune server" (a 150gb FireWire drive hanging off of a G4 iBook, which contains pretty much every album and live bootleg I own, and which is backed up to either audio CDs and/or DVD ROMs).

It's kind of like high-resolution imagery. More pixels = better, because you can always throw away the data you don't need from a 300dpi image in order to resize an image for, say, the Web, but you can't add data to a 72dpi image without making a godawful mess out of it. If the FLACs or mp3s I download are ripped at 320k, I can always downsample, but if all I can find are 56k's, then I'm pretty much stuck.

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Grenade

confused...

I own a Nexus One, that was bought from Google, how is that not direct selling?

Re: Yawn from Peyton.

You are a minority, hardly anyone cares about FLAC and loss-less compression.

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Grenade

You're kidding right?

You mean the reason that all the big online music shops only carry mp3 is because they are targeting the majority of users?? What a startling revelation - I had assumed it was a conspiracy against me personally.

ANYWAY - Google's efforts could hardly be considered avant-garde if they're just flogging mp3s. (oh and there are shops that have FLAC - but they either carry only indy artists, or are of questionable legality).

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: confused...

That didn't last long, did it? Closed after a few weeks.

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I think it was around for a bit

allofmp3.com that is. I seem to recall it took "our people calling your people" (in this case, RIAA getting in touch with the Russian version of RIAA) but yeah, I just checked and it seems to be gone as a download site. Apparently http://www.mp3sparks.com/ is the same company, but I guess it's invitation only heheh.

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Paris Hilton

oh woops sorry

I just reread this and realized you were replying to the other post... I think I saw a later post about a slow children's class? Where is the sign-up for that?

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Badgers

Weeks? More like months.

Opened on January 5th and the closure was announced on May 14th, I make that more than four months and they sold 300,000 units. Selling that kind of volume of any consumer electronics usually makes it financially viable.

It may not have been the best way to continue but it wasn't really a failure. Perhaps they didn't put enough hype around the launch like the iPhone 4, but even with the volume shipped I wouldn't say that has been a PR success.

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Show me the ears...

that can tell the difference between 320kbps MP3s and FLAC files - they won't be human.

Anyway, I won't be shedding any tears for rip-off retailers, if they won't modernise they deserve to be trampled underfoot.

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FAIL

OH, I can tell the difference

Just not with my ears, but rather my Hard Drive. A 3 minute mp3 is around4.5 megs at 192 kbps, a similar FLAC is almost 24 megs. The slight difference in quality (if any) pales in comparison to what it does to my storage.

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That's not the point of wanting FLAC

I can't hear the difference between a high bit rate MP3 and FLAC, but that's not the point. I prefer to use FLAC as an archive format for my music because then I can convert it into any format I want without compounding bit loss and ending up with a worse sounding end result down the line.

It's always best to have original data of the highest quality possible because that will help minimise the impact of any later processing you might want to do on the file.

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Difference

"that can tell the difference between 320kbps MP3s and FLAC files"

Just listen to the high-hats

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Difference

"Just listen to the high-hats"

On a set of decent speakers with a decent sound card, not an onboard AC97 chipset.

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Re:Difference

I used to think that 320kbps VBR mp3 from LAME was the be-all and end-all. Then as AAC matured and the encoders got better and I also tried FLAC I noticed what was blatantly missing. As the above poster states - just listen to the high-hats. I can hear the difference on my little Sony flash-based music player.

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Anonymous Coward

This could actually be a good thing

... if it means that Google and the RIAA end up spending all their time suing each other into oblivion, leaving the rest of us to get on with our lives.

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Anonymous Coward

Does anyone really care?

When there are already abundent free places to download music and numerous incumbents who would charge?

Rather than queuing at any online download store the lucrative teenage market will continue to freely distribute stuff they like on memory sticks, over bluetooth on mp3 cd's, over email etc.

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Dubbing parties, anyone?

"Rather than queuing at any online download store the lucrative teenage market will continue to freely distribute stuff they like on memory sticks, over bluetooth on mp3 cd's, over email etc..."

Right on, there.

I'm an avid collector of bootleg live footage -- started with Grateful Dead twenty-five years or so ago in the mid '80s, but branched out into Floyd, Stones, Led Zeppelin, etc. -- and back then, and in the very early Internet days when the bandwidth just wasn't there for downloading from archive.org, I belonged to a circle of tape- and CD-trading friends who met regularly for "dubbing parties" -- a cooler of beer, an ounce of weed, and about a dozen amps, tape decks, laptops and CD burners all running at once, in real time, while we switched the speakers from one system to the next, depending on what footage we wanted to actually hear. I built the major part of my Dead collection at those parties. Productive, sociable fun for all.

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Pirate

FLAC

The win for FLAC is when you need to re-encode your files; if you take an MP3 and convert to WMA, OGG or whatever, you get the worst of both formats; at least with a FLAC original you can encode "natively" to your favourite format and re-encode later if you need to (e.g. your player doesn't support the format your music files were ripped to).

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FAIL

This was a line that Microsoft never really crossed either

What cave are you living in?

http://store.microsoft.com/

And there are lots of other examples of Microsoft selling direct too. Often pissing on a "partner" that created the market.

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price comparison sites

"Well those price comparison sites are already earmarked for extinction and few will mourn their passing - they don't really add much value."

I disagree - I use price comparison sites to find the best prices for purchases like SD cards, memory or hard disks. They do what they say - compare prices. I do not want any added value, I just want to know who sells xyz item for the best price. If I want to know technical details of the products, I look elsewhere. The results of Google's shopping search are almost always dramatically more expensive and often, less relevant.

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Exactly

When I want a gadget or something gadget related I'll almost always have a look on pricerunner first to see how competitive the stores listing on there are on price.

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Well...

First books, now music, then video. Google is on a mission. Give it 50 years and we will all be members of the United States of Google. Knowlege is power, and it would seem that google have been collecting and collating that knowledge for nearly a decade.

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Alert

Bulls and china shops

Allow me to be the first humorless pedant in line to inform you that Mythbusters did an experiment a couple years ago that showed that your china is surprisingly safe around rampaging bulls.

As for the topic at hand... well, I'm at a loss to see how anyone, even Google, could make the whole music rights and delivery situation significantly worse than it already is. (Yeah, I know, I'm just asking for something to happen to make me eat those words.)

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Anonymous Coward

good!

If they do buy the entire music biz, they can disband the RIAA....... Go Go Google.

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Anonymous Coward

More likely a threat

More likely they wouldn't mind expanding their coverage of all things digital, but might be willing to NOT make alternative suggestions to people looking for iTunes downloads if Apple reconsiders which codec it uses in future browsers.

Since their video codec already uses ogg for sound, I wouldn't be surprised to see ogg versions of tunes as well as mp3 and flac to expand both PC and Mac users horizons.

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Dead Vulture

"you'll recall the study"

Link or you made those numbers up.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: "you'll recall the study"

Try and keep up - or we'll put you in the Slow Children's class.

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=long+tail+music+study+site%3Atheregister.co.uk

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