Google’s Music Beta

So, I got a Music Beta invitation yesterday. My bet is Google is trying to get their service out there before Apple can officially announce iCloud at WWDC on Monday. But anyway, I’ve spent a couple minutes with it and it has some potential.

When you initially sign into the service it asks you to download a music manager that will allow you to scan iTunes, windows media player, and your music folder. You have the option to have it add songs automatically, on a specified interval, or completely manually. I chose manually as I’m not ready to give it free reign over my music collection. The upload process can take quite a while for larger collections so music manager has the ability to pick up where you leave off if you need to shut down your computer for a while.

Once your music is uploaded, you can access it from music.google.com with your Google login. The web music player is pretty simple. You can access it from any internet connected computer or most smart phones. I was able to use it over 3G with my iPhone.

The web music player is divided into three sections. On the left side of the screen are organizational controls for your collection. Options include New and Recent, Songs, Artists, Albums, and Genres. Below that are various playlist options including your iTunes playlists if you’ve chosen to import from iTunes.

Along the bottom of the screen are your standard music controls: Play, Pause, Skip Forward or Back, Shuffle and Volume.

And, the main window contains your music. Depending on your selection you’ll either see a listing of songs or album covers. Pretty much what you’d expect.

I understand there is an Android app that makes the mobile experience even better. One feature that sounds pretty cool is the ability to indicate which songs you want stored locally and which songs you want to stream, enabling you to listen to music when you don’t have a data connection on your phone. Unfortunately I was unable to test that.

All in all, I really like Google’s initial offering in cloud storage for music. It’s very similar to Amazon’s Cloud Storage in function and look. As the service grows I would like to see apps for iOS and Windows phones, and a built in music store but we will see what happens.

I’m excited to see what Apple releases next week. Some reports indicate that they will not allow music to be uploaded to their service initially. That would set the Google and Amazon services apart giving them the advantage in that area. I think that would be a big mistake for Apple but we’ll see. They have a tendency to decide certain things aren’t necessary.

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