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Google Music is another step towards living in the clouds

Google Music is another step towards living in the clouds

Yesterday Google launched their new Google Music service from out of beta testing. The new service ties in free cloud music storage with Google accounts and Android devices (or any web-connected device through a web interface). It is currently, to the chagrin of our European members, only available in the US. We discussed the announcement on Al Jazeera English:

One of the hurdles Google faced was getting the sign-off from major record labels; that appears to have been solved as Sony, EMI, and others are all apparently on-board with the big G.

Google Music is more than merely a music player and storage app; it’s one more step in the evolution of the cloud as a viable place to keep your digital life. While, interestingly, movies and video games have been at the forefront of cloud-based storage, music has been lagging behind (probably due to the incredible backwardness of the RIAA and music industry in general).

Google’s Grand Plan

Google’s strategy is becoming clear; and you can see it just by glancing at the new Google Music web interface as it is seen in Chrome:

Google Music web interface screenshot

The web interface for Google Music, as seen in Chrome

Google Music Android app screenshot

Google Music Android app

The interesting aspects of this experience are the complete and total integration with the rest of the Google ecosystem by way of the navigation and account bar at the top; was this screenshot taken on a Windows desktop PC, or a Chromebook? Does it even matter anymore?

That’s the key: the more cloud services Google rolls out, the more a single place to manage all of your digital experiences becomes appealing. I am firmly entrenched in the Google ecosystem; I use Gmail, Google Apps, Calendar, an Android phone, Chrome, a Chromebook, YouTube, Google Plus, and now I’m moving my 2600+ song library into Google Music.

The experience is seamless; the app works perfectly well on Android and now something I’ve been trying to accomplish for years is a reality; I can listen to my music anywhere I have a web connection with my phone. I could have solved this (inelegantly) with a 64gb microSD card by maintaining a second copy of my entire music library on my phone, but that’s just lame (and expensive).

But what about the data

The only specter hanging over this good news is that of the continued insistence of ridiculous bandwidth caps instituted by wireless data providers (read about the trainwreck that is US telecom here); of course the more of our lives that go into the cloud, the more data we’ll be using. Providers keep insisting that only “abusers” utilize the most data, but as people start using everyday conveniences that are available to them (such as Netflix and Google Music), they may start looking like “abusers” from the provider standpoint.

Google Music is available now; you can upload 20,000 songs for free. The Android app is also available on the Android Market.

Comments

  1. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm Does Google Music have the ability to cache a local copy on your device so you're not required to use the network? (Can't get it here in Euroland.) At least that way you could cache the stuff you wanted to listen to at home while on wifi, and then still be able to access the rest if you have a sudden craving for something else.
  2. CrazyJoe
    CrazyJoe Awesome appearance yet again Brian!! I am definitely interested in Google Music. I also like the feature that lets me listen to songs for free that have been downloaded by my friends.
  3. Troy @Snarkasm I know it does include the ability on the android app to download a local copy to allow offline play.
    I haven't seen anything like that in the browser version though, so I don't guess that would help with bandwidth issues there...
  4. Preacher
    Preacher Bri, how does it compare to services such as Spotify or Rdio?
  5. AlexDeGruven
    AlexDeGruven
    Troy wrote:
    @Snarkasm I know it does include the ability on the android app to download a local copy to allow offline play.
    I haven't seen anything like that in the browser version though, so I don't guess that would help with bandwidth issues there...

    Yes, you can cache the songs you want on your device for either offline play or to save bandwidth (I'm so glad I jumped on Verizon unlimited while it still existed).

    As for the desktop version, it's all browser-based, so I don't think there's that capability. But in the vast majority of cases, at least in the US, nobody's going to be hitting home broadband caps via Google Music.
  6. CB
    CB I'm having an issue just running the manager client. Anyone else seen this? I can't find any resolutions online, only a recognition that it's an issue. :(
  7. Cliff_Forster
    Cliff_Forster 20,000 songs on their servers for free? That is just mind boggling. The usage data must be extraordinarily valuable?
  8. Tushon
    Tushon
    Preacher wrote:
    Bri, how does it compare to services such as Spotify or Rdio?

    Comparison to spotify: this is your own music, uploaded from your PC to their cloud then accessible from anywhere you have data connection (whether that is another PC or a phone, etc). You can have some locally cached for phone through app for service outages or travel through tunnels, etc. They also will not use data if cached locally (and there are several settings available to determine how they get onto your phone).

    "**SUPER TIP** Creating a playlist just for offline music is one of the easiest ways to make sure your favorite songs are available when you jump on the subway. In fact, any new music you add to a pinned playlist will automatically be downloaded for offline playback."

    Once I figure out an effective way to get music from my phone to my car stereo, my ipod will be obsolete (this is mixing that assumption in with the thinking that data caps will go away eventually, or that i'll be really good about updating my offline playlist).
  9. Tushon
    Tushon
    CB wrote:
    I'm having an issue just running the manager client. Anyone else seen this? I can't find any resolutions online, only a recognition that it's an issue. :(

    I haven't. Possibly stupid questions: are you actually using three different accounts to sign into music manager? Have you tried uninstall/reinstall?
  10. ardichoke
    ardichoke Does Google have a pay option for uploading more than 20,000 songs? Also, do songs you buy from Google count against your 20k?
  11. Linc
    Linc <blockquote>was this screenshot taken on a Windows desktop PC, or a Chromebook? Does it even matter anymore?</blockquote>Given the anemic sales of Chromebooks thus far, I would say 'no'. ;)
  12. Linc
    Linc When Apple brings any feature Android has to the iPhone, everyone banters about how Apple is just copying and *finally* catching up. When Google copies iCloud, well by golly look at the future they're showing us! In fact, the word "iCloud" has never appeared in an Icrontic article, including this one.
  13. ardichoke
    ardichoke Icrontic is the polar opposite of the rest of the tech press where they all talk about how the Apple features that were copied from elsewhere are "magical" and "revolutionary" whereas anything anyone else does that's remotely similar to something Apple did is just a cheap knock-off.
  14. Linc
    Linc
    ardichoke wrote:
    the rest of the tech press where they all talk about how the Apple features that were copied from elsewhere are "magical" and "revolutionary" whereas anything anyone else does that's remotely similar to something Apple did is just a cheap knock-off.
    I think a different Internet is connected to your house.

    [edited quote to better reflect what I was referring to]
  15. Cliff_Forster
    Cliff_Forster
    ardichoke wrote:
    Does Google have a pay option for uploading more than 20,000 songs? Also, do songs you buy from Google count against your 20k?

    I think this would only matter to a professional DJ. For everyone else, that's somewhere between 1500 and 2000 full length CD's. I've been collecting CD's for over twenty years now, and I have maybe 500, and of those, maybe only half I would bother to send to the cloud.

    It's staggering how much data they are going to let us upload for free.
  16. ardichoke
    ardichoke Please, most tech press falls all over themselves to praised Apple for being revolutionary when they copy features from elsewhere. Case in point: Siri.

    Edit: just listen to TWiT sometime... even when they admit that Apple just ripped something off from someone else, they go out of their way to justify why the Apple version is better and more revolutionary than what they copied anyway.
  17. ardichoke
    ardichoke
    I think this would only matter to a professional DJ. For everyone else, that's somewhere between 1500 and 2000 full length CD's. I've been collecting CD's for over twenty years now, and I have maybe 500, and of those, maybe only half I would bother to send to the cloud.

    It's staggering how much data they are going to let us upload for free.

    I agree. Hell, my whole collection is only about 7600 songs at this point. I was just curious.
  18. primesuspect
    primesuspect My entire collection of music I've purchased on CD and converted to MP3 as well as music purchased digitally in iTunes and Amazon marketplace comes to a total of 2666 songs, after exactly 20 years of collecting. People who have close to 20,000 songs are either professionals or the type of people who just download everything (or download an entire album for one song).

    The upload is slooww. I've been running 17 hours now and only have 2400 of my 2666 songs uploaded.
  19. boasist
    boasist My upload took about 4 days - 19k songs.

    Ardichoke - No, anything you buy from google does NOT count against your 20k limit.

    The UI leaves much to be desired, I'm just in the browser though on PC and iOS.
  20. primesuspect
    primesuspect
    Lincoln wrote:
    When Apple brings any feature Android has to the iPhone, everyone banters about how Apple is just copying and *finally* catching up. When Google copies iCloud, well by golly look at the future they're showing us! In fact, the word "iCloud" has never appeared in an Icrontic article, including this one.

    If it's not on Icrontic it's because none of our writers decided to write about it. I've honestly never heard of iCloud, and I'm not an iOS 5 user. It only works on iOS 5 devices.

    Google Music works on any device. It's a bit more universal, and it has a wider appeal.

    Hey, if you want more Apple content on the site, bring on some Apple writers! You know I'll publish it! :D
  21. MiracleManS
    MiracleManS
    My entire collection of music I've purchased on CD and converted to MP3 as well as music purchased digitally in iTunes and Amazon marketplace comes to a total of 2666 songs, after exactly 20 years of collecting. People who have close to 20,000 songs are either professionals or the type of people who just download everything (or download an entire album for one song).

    The upload is slooww. I've been running 17 hours now and only have 2400 of my 2666 songs uploaded.

    I've got some 4000+ songs uploading since this morning at 7:30, 1500 are done as of 1:30pm. Not bad if you ask me.
  22. CB
    CB
    Tushon wrote:
    I haven't. Possibly stupid questions: are you actually using three different accounts to sign into music manager? Have you tried uninstall/reinstall?

    No, I've never used gMusic before today, and I only just ran the install for the first time. I guess it'll get fixed soon? The service sounds like a cool idea. I can finally stop storing music on my home PC.

    *longs for the day he doesn't even need a hard drive anymore.
  23. Chooch
    Chooch 20k? Oh, the amount of Kpop I could share.
  24. CB
    CB Found a workaround by installing it on another PC in the house, and sharing my music folder with that PC.

    Not that I ever listen to any of that music. I haven't added to or listened to that collection since I discovered Pandora. :/
  25. fatcat
    fatcat I see 20k songs, but is there a max size as far as GB? TB?

    Can you put 20k uncompressed songs on google music?
  26. Basil
    Basil 250MB per track is the only limitation I've seen.
  27. fatcat
    fatcat
    Basil wrote:
    250MB per track is the only limitation I've seen.

    that, is quite generous.
  28. RyanMM
    RyanMM I must say Brian, you did that, without a doubt, LIKE A BAWSE.

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