Google Music Beta — Preview
As of now, Google Music is really just a glorified music player, available on the Android Market. Soon however, Google Music will transform into a music service, where new audio content can be downloaded from an online store, while prepurchased user content can be stored in the cloud. I had a chance to test drive Music Beta, a service which is said to be detailed at a press event scheduled for Wednesday.
Music Beta offers a crisp and clean solution to music management, foregoing a bulky computer application for a smooth browser based experience. Your content is categorized between songs, artists, recently added, as well as nay playlist you could create. A control panel at the bottom of the screen will allow you to quickly play, skip, or shuffle between your content. Once you install the Music Manager, which allows you to add content to your library, you’ll be able to upload your own content — up to 20,000 songs — to Google’s cloud for free. The greatest part? Those tracks are then available on up to 10 Android devices instantly. Users will have the option to select which tracks they want to use offline, for example, if you plan on using Google Music Beta on a non-data plan enabled device like a tablet, you can choose all or some of that content to use when not connected to a WiFi network.
I went ahead and uploaded my embarrassing 2,000 song catalogue — more than half of which are Britney Spears songs, remixes, live performances, instrumentals… the list goes on. The upload process is quick, as the Music Manager scans your computer for all audio files, whether in iTunes or elsewhere. Uploading takes quite a while, but when you actually think of the many GBs of audio you’re uploading, it’s warranted, and well worth it.
After uploading your content from your computer, simply download the Google Music app onto any Android device (2.2 or later). Once booted, you’ll be prompted with a message to sign into your Google account. Instantly, your entire catalogue of just uploaded songs will appear. I tried this both on my Droid mobile as well a my Galaxy Tab 10.1, played a few tunes, and still haven’t been able to pick my jaw up off the floor. It works perfectly, and I can’t wait to continue using it anywhere I can. The idea that I can hook my entire music library to my car’s aux input, play my tunes, and avoid having the songs fill up my mobile device’s storage is almost too futuristic for my mind to handle.
Right now, you can also download a crap ton of free music — from artists you actually know, too. There’s also a “song of the day” feature, free for anyone, though you have to download first before previewing it. Downloading new content through the already in-place interface is one-click simple, and feels naturally for anyone to do. I’m looking forward to seeing the full store portion of this equation in place, expected to launch soon. It’s still early, but if this Beta is any indication, Google’s entry into the music business is going to be a match made in cloud haven.
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