Ubuntu Unveils Web Music Streaming Service

It’s official, Ubuntu has rolled out a Web Music addition to their Ubuntu One service.

An addition to the Ubuntu One “cloud service” now allows all users with a paid subscription to save, store and stream music directly from a web browser. After logging into your  UbuntuOne  control panel, there is a new tab showing off the features, which include offline listening, access to the vast Ubuntu One Music Store and 20GB of storage, with a monthly subscription. Of course there is also a 30 day free trial for the service should you want to try before you buy.

Previous to today, the service was only available from a mobile device running iOS or Android. A free app, available in both the Apple App Store and the Android Market, provided mobile users with a way to stream and access all the content stored in their cloud. Although users have access to the iTunes Cloud and Google Music on their respective handsets, many use alternatives that provide “personalized  radio” based on recommendations, tag matching and “crowdsourced” content such as Spotify and Pandora. Unfortunately UbuntuOne Web Music does not include this, but playlist creation, queue management and shuffle might be enough for you.

It really does seem as if Ubuntu is laying the framework and infrastructure for eventually providing a mobile operating system or partnering with an OEM for shipping U1 services directly on devices. They have a niche market with Ubuntu installations on many personal computers, they have cross-platform sync through a proven cloud service that allows file storage, contact and note sync, and now completely cross-platform music streaming.

Ubuntu says they will continue building out their One service and 2012 will be a big year. The mobile space has been heating up for a long time, and although there might not be any room for a new platform, providing tightly integrated services could be a real differentiating factor for many OEMs. Hopefully Canonical sees this opportunity and can seize it, truly bringing Ubuntu to the masses.

Pandora on Android and iOS Leaks Out Personal Information Back to Ad Servers

Whenever you install an app on your Android or iOS device, you are entering into an agreement to allow a certain level of control on your phone and its data. However, people hardly care about the implications and seemingly, neither do app manufacturers anymore.
Veracode is an independent security firm investigating into privacy of Android apps and Pandora has emerged as the new culprit of data leakage. Pandora sends a massive amount of personal information including your GPS data, device ID, connection ID, Device brand, model, birth date and gender back to ad servers. That is some serious breach of privacy and Pandora has declined to comment on this at all.

The folks over at Veracode have expressed their concern by saying,

In isolation some of this data is uninteresting, but when compiled into a single unifying picture, it can provide significant insight into a person’s life. Consider for a moment that your current location is being tracked while you are at your home, office, or significant other’s house. Couple that with your gender and age and then with your geolocated IP address. When all that is placed into a single basket, it’s pretty easy to determine who someone is, what they do for a living, who they associate with, and any number of other traits about them. I don’t know about you, but that feels a little Orwellian to me.

Pandora might argue that the data collected through this process is used to serve personalized content but sending it to advertisement servers is not something the users opt-in for.