Google Music Beta: Cloud music done right

Google Music Beta: Cloud music done right

Summary: A first look at the new Google Music Beta. Not many bells and whistles, but it's a great start.

TOPICS: Google

Recently I had the pleasure of receiving an invite to the Google Music Beta program. Initial reviews of the product were less than favorable. However, very soon afterward, Google released an update to the software that seems to have improved things substantially.

If your Android device doesn't have the new music app, it's a simple matter of downloading it from the Android Market. Google provides and impressive amount of storage for the beta: users can currently upload up to 20,000 songs.

Getting set up is fairly straightforward. Using your existing Google account, you download and install the desktop application. You can configure it to pull your music from Windows Media Player, iTunes, or simply define a directory full of music files. Your system then uploads your music in the background--and you can even limit the upload speed so it doesn't throttle your internet connection.

Once you have music files stored online, you can start listening to them right away. You can play them over the internet through the Android app, and you can also play through the web-based app. You also have the option of configuring the player to download music from your account as it plays so it can be cached for offline usage.

Admittedly, when playing music over a smartphone connection, your available bandwidth is going to affect the quality of the playback. If you have 4G connectivity, or even 3G, there should be no problem. I would not recommend trying to play music over a lower speed connection. Also, keep in mind that this will count towards your data usage if you do not have an unlimited data plan.

There is no facility for purchasing music through the service yet. It is primarily a type of store and forward cloud service for your existing music. I have several thousand songs from my CD collection online with the Google Music service now, and I find it to be a simple, elegant music storage system.

This is the kind of service where the cloud really shines, providing immediate access to data--in this case, music--to any location where you have internet access. All you need is a web browser or the Android app installed on your smartphone or tablet, and you're good to go.

Topic: Google

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  • RE: Google Music Beta: Cloud music done right

    Cloud music is pointless when you have 16 to 32 gb of storage on a smart phone. Apple is going to charge money for their so called 'icloud service'.

    A Zune pass make more sense when you can have millions of songs in the 'cloud'. Microsoft should roll out Zune service to other platforms.
    • Scott does not have very good record in judging what was done 'right'

      @owlnet: ... or not; just check his articles like "CES: Failed Tablets That Weren't: Success Despite Predictions of Doom" -- failed tablets turned out to be real fail.

      Or when Scott claimed: "When I first heard that Apple had put the antenna on the outside of the phone where people would normally hold it, I thought that was a tremendously bad idea." -- iPhone 4 antenna proved to be many times more sensitive to weak signal, keeping connections alive when usually constructed antenna failed (-122 dB agains -114 dB, according to research by AnandTech). And shorting GSM and Wi-Fi antennas turned out to be ridiculously rare thing in reality -- almost no one of buyers wanted to take "bumper" when Apple offered it for free for three months last year.

      Whether Google's music services are done "right" will be better seen on Monday, when we will know what Apple has to offer.

      Many bloggers thought that Google Wave or GoogleTV were supercool things, but, as of now, the former is dead and the latter is undead (second version is coming).
      • RE: Google Music Beta: Cloud music done right

        Do you tire of your position? There is a large number of very nice things that were not developed by Apple. And some people do not like the price tag that comes along with it.
      • Do you tire of asking irrelevant questions? I never said that only Apple ..

        @hoaxoner: does nice things. Kinect by Microsoft is quite nice thing, for example. Google Maps, too. Countless.

        And I do not go with religious zeal screaming that "Google hates you" unlike what Scott Raymond does with relation to Apple -- exposing himself as Google's blinded fanatic.
      • Kinect may have an MS logo, but it is not an MS creation

        @denisrs The Kinect is a repackage/relabeled product that wasn't created by Microsoft. All they did was take existing technology and hook it up to a game console.

        The Kinect was really created by an Israeli company called PrimeSense, using technology that has being used for over 30 years to create the product.

        The only part that MS did was write the software API ... and that outsourced to a company called Rave.
      • I know; I am just stating the fact that Microsoft was first to market this

        @wackoae: ... technology to mass-production. This is what actually changes the world, not inventions themselves.

        It is similar to case of Apple buying in 2004 small firm that developed capacitive touch screen technology and software, completing their work and turning user experience with mobile devices upside-down -- with iPhone and, later, with iPad.

        (Of course, Apple, unlike Microsoft, did not get the technology completely ready -- it took years to be completed; nor idea of capacitive smartphone/pad was bought, it was Apple's internal -- but you get the point.)
      • RE: Google Music Beta: Cloud music done right

        @denisrs You keep paying for the koolaid. I'll sip mine for free. Enough said.
    • RE: Google Music Beta: Cloud music done right

  • RE: Google Music Beta: Cloud music done right

    Poor Linux support, as in no Linux Music Manager. Why would they want you to download a local app for this anyway?
    • RE: Google Music Beta: Cloud music done right

      I don't think you need one for bigger operating systems, the browser should be enough.
      • Sure it would be enough .... if you have web connection 24/7

        @hoaxoner The entire "cloud" idea only work if you have unlimited bandwidth and zero downtime.
  • RE: Google Music Beta: Cloud music done right

    Right because the average consumer wants to spend weeks uploading their collection to the cloud. And with no way to purchase new music with Google. Which means users have to use a separate service like Amazon or iTunes just to buy new music. May as well use Amazon cloud music if you're going to do that.
    • RE: Google Music Beta: Cloud music done right

      I actually agree, but the differentiator here is the 20 GB or whatever it is for free, that's pretty nice.
    • RE: Google Music Beta: Cloud music done right

      It uploads automatically unlike Amazon music (you have to upload manually).

      You get 20,000 song storage with Google, only 5GB on Amazon.

      You can edit tags on Google, no dice on Amazon.

      Both are cool services though.
    • RE: Google Music Beta: Cloud music done right

      @dave95. 20,000 songs - play anywhere - FREE
      • Sort of...


        The beta is free but that doesn't necessarily mean the public service will be free.
  • RE: Google Music Beta: Cloud music done right

    I've always wanted to upload and listen to my music via poor bandwidth conditions! Thanks Google for making my dream come true! :D

    Meanwhile, I'll continue to rip music locally to my hard drive where those bandwidth issues are negated, and my Zune, which allows me to take my music anywhere I go.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • and if you are in the clouds on a plane???

    not for me...
  • RE: Google Music Beta: Cloud music done right

    I'll stick with a dedicated music device, the whole storing music in the cloud thing doesn't interest me especially when its going to be taking up bandwith.
  • RE: Google Music Beta: Cloud music done right

    Zune already kills this and iTunes, unless Microsoft screws it up, especially since this has no actual music store and iTunes is not only crap, but about to charge for their iCloud.