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:
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.