Google Music Puts All Your Tunes Online [Currently US Only]

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google music betaUpload your music to Google’s servers and stream it from anywhere. It’s called Google Music Beta, and it just might change the way you listen to music.

Cloud-based music is nothing new; we’ve discussed alternative cloud-based music in the past. But Google being known for their massive data centers and, well Google being Google, means there is considerable excitement around their music project. It’s warranted. Uploading your music to Google is a bit of pain, but Google Music is useful as soon as your songs are there. Even the uploading process is relatively painless thanks to a well thought out uploading tool. But the real highlight here is the web-based interface.

Web Based Playback

First of all, this service is invite-only right now. You can sign up at Google Music but the invite took a couple of weeks to get to me. It seems to be US only right now, but I’m sure this will change.

Open Google Music for the first time and you’ll be offered a bit of free music. There are some cool songs here. If you’re the sort of person who like entire albums, not individual songs, I’d suggest you say no. After that you’ll have access to the music player. The first thing you’ll see is the latest songs you’ve added to the service:

google music beta

This can be fun during the uploading process; you’ll see which of your albums made it up most recently. If you want an overview of your entire collection however, I suggest browsing by artist:

google music

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As you can see, covers from every album you have from a particular artist show up. This makes visual browsing easy. Click on an artist and you’ll see the albums, as a playlist:

google music

Click a song to start playing. It’s worth pointing out that you can also browse your entire library in one list if you like, and you can create custom playlists. Everything runs so smoothly you’ll forget the service is in a browser.

Another highlight is the Android app for the service:

As you can see, it’s well integrated. Sadly there’s no iOS app yet, but hopefully this is coming.

Uploading Tool

Okay, so the service is good once your songs are uploaded. How is uploading the songs? Relatively painless. You simply install a piece of software, and tell Google how you want your music synced. Users of iTunes and Windows Media Player can sync with those programs. Alternatively, Google can scan a particular folder.

I’m getting a lot of songs that fail to upload however, most of which seem to be OGG files. This is odd, because Google Music does support OGG files in theory, but there you have it. I’m sure more of these bugs will be worked out as the service continues to grow.

One nice feature – any new music you add to your library or folder will automatically go to Google as well. This means your music collection stays up to date when you make new purchases.

Pros & Cons

google music beta

The cloud is getting bigger every day, and Google’s at the forefront. When the search company offered a gigabyte of storage with Gmail for free in 2004, it was unheard of. Now they’re letting people upload 20,000 songs to their server and stream them from anywhere.

But Gmail didn’t just change email forever because of the storage offered. They made a few changes to how email works, and consequently made email better. Quick search for all messages and labels are just a few early innovations.

Google Music doesn’t offer anything revolutionary from an interface perspective. It’s very clean and lets you find what you’re looking for quickly. Music on the web hasn’t been done better, but Google Music can also compete head-on with any music player.

I’ll say this – Google Music is better than any of the alternatives I’ve looked into, but only time will tell if people like it better than Apple or Amazon’s offerings in the same realm.

Have you tried Google Music yet? Let us know in the comments below. Also feel free to discuss whether the future of music will be in the cloud or not.

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Comments (11)
  • Anonymous

    You just need a vpn to get an invitation, then the service itself will work in any part of the world :)

    • Mark O’Neill

      Agreed. I tried it with a US proxy server and I got through right away. (I’m in Germany).  So there are ways around the restrictions.  I don’t know what Google would do though if they found out what you did.

  • Michal Charvát

    Can somebody tell me, why this Google Music thing should be better than eg. Grooveshark?

  • Matthew Bakke

    But America is the world.

  • Jake Shakespeare

    Thank you for mentioning in the title that this applies to the US only. As a Canadian Google-boy I knew that the music service was not available here, but I am sick to death of wasting time reading long blog articles about wonderful new services only to find when I try them that they don’t exist outside of the US. Most blog writers seem to believe that the world = the continental US. Thank you for considering the rest of us; I wish other bloggers would emulate you.

    • Meena Bassem

      i agree with you about that , and the USA is not the world.

  • Guest

    Fat chance of giving it a try if you’re not American!

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.