Yesterday afternoon, I was delighted to open my Inbox to find this glorious invitation to join the Google Music beta! Google Music is a cloud storage locker for music you already own. You must upload all your music to the Google servers to have Google then stream it back for you at your convenience. There is not currently a way to purchase music from Google and have it stored in your locker. The service is currently free, but you are limited to storing 20,000 songs. I clicked on the “Get Started” button to begin my musical Google journey!
One might argue that Google Music Beta is best for folks with an Android phone and not for iPhone and iPad fanatics like me since there’s no iOS App for Google Music. You can, however, listen to Google music on your computer using a web browser. You will need an internet connection to listen to the live stream of your own music.
Google offers to seed your music beta account with some free songs. I don’t think you can add free songs a second time, so click everything if you want right now to gobble up the free music. Choose your genres and Google will do the picking for you:
Since I’m on a Mac, Google Music offered to download their Mac Music Manager to my system to help me upload all my music.
Google even includes steps and screenshots to help you install the Music Manager.
When the Music Manager opens, you are able to start the process of storing your music on the Google servers.
I have a Google Apps account and it is now linked to my Google Music!
I have a local copy of iTunes on my computer, but all my music is stored on a network drive. I decided to let Google find all my songs via the default settings:
It’s nice to be asked how you want Google to manage your music in the future.
Here are the free songs that were populated by Google for me. The selection was good.
Playing a song is as easy as clicking on the album cover.
There’s a nice player control system at the bottom of the Google Music browser window.
Music Manager is working hard to find all my iTunes songs on my network drive…
Google Music gave me 78 free songs! Here’s the list:
Here’s how Google Music integrates with your Google Apps interface:
This is the online Google Music Beta Settings screen:
The Music Manager is done! It found over 10,000 songs — which doesn’t really help, because if I’m over 20,000 songs I can’t use the service and if I don’t know how many songs Google Music thinks I have, why would I start the upload process and tie up my internet connection forever? I tried to cancel the upload, but the Music Manger froze my Mac. I had to do a hard boot to release its grip on my music.
Here’s the local Music Manager settings area. It added six songs, it seems, to my Google Music account — even though I never agreed to the music upload.
This is the advanced settings screen for Google Music.
With Apple’s iCloud music streaming service soon in the offing, I think I’ll wait awhile to see if I really want to take the time to upload all my songs to Google. I can live with the free songs for now and I will certainly enjoy watching how the Google Music expands the convenience of our musical tastes in the future.