Google Music is a very interesting new service from search engine giant Google. Basically, it offers you the possibility to have your music with you at all times (provided you have an internet connection). The service is fairly comprehensive so rather than a boring review, I’ve decided to do more of a screenshot tour / review to give you an overall idea and first look of the new service.
I’ve had a Google Music account since the service was in beta, but I started using it seriously just after I realized the possibilities it has.
First of all, you need to know that Google Music is solely a cloud music service, one that allows you to store your music on Google’s servers and access it wherever you like. This is why you get free space for 20,000 songs on your computer (not including the ones you purchase from Google Music – they don’t count towards your storage quota).
Sounds good? I thought so. Let’s see how it works.
Provided you already have a Google account, go to music.google.com and start using the service right away after agreeing to the terms of service. You start off by downloading the Music Manager. This is a little piece of software that looks like this (of course, after you login to it with your Google account).
The Music Manager allows you to upload music from your computer to the service. It can be set to start automatically with Windows, and you can also allocate as much bandwidth as you want for uploading. You can tell it what folders of music to upload, and another groovy feature is that you can automatically upload music that’s added to iTunes, as well as your iTunes playlists. Once you give the application a folder, it will monitor and update it constantly.
After you’ve uploaded music, things couldn’t be easier. Wherever you are, you can just open a browser, go to music.google.com, login and you can listen to it. The interface is nicely organized, by artists, songs and albums, as you can see below.
Clicking an artist or an album will take you to the list of songs. Let’s say I’m listening to a song, I can click the little arrow next to its name and add it to a playlist (one I already have) or I can create a new playlist.
…then again, maybe I just want the service to create an instant mix of similar songs for me. That can be done, too, just as easily. This is what an instant mix looks like.
Now, on to bigger things. Google Music is also a great marketplace for music, as well as a great place to find tons of free music. Getting to the shop from the Google Music page is quite easy (by the way, the shop is part of the Android Market).
You can just go to the bottom of the Music page and you’ll get a few recommendations from the shop, based on the music you’ve uploaded to the service. Clicking Buy will take you to the shop.
…or, when you’re listening to a song, the “arrow menu” I was mentioning has a Shop this artist link. That will take you to the shop, too.
The Music store on the Android Market is pretty straightforward. This is how it looks.
Just click around and once you run into something you want, just click Buy.
Once you get to an album page, you can buy just a song, or the whole album.
In regards to pricing, it appears very similar to iTunes. Nothing ground breaking there.
If you don’t have any ideas about what you want to buy however, check out the top songs and top albums in the store, on the left.
One of the coolest features of the service is that it offers free music, and tons of it. For example, there’s always a free song of the day, allowing you to discover some groovy new artists.
Free songs are always easy to find, and you can even search for them by genre.
Another groovy thing is that songs that are bought from Android Market can also be shared on Google Plus with your friends. They get to stream them once, and then they have the option to buy them too. You can also download these songs to your computer. You can’t do that for songs from your collection that you’ve uploaded to the service.
And now, for the icing on the cake. You can listen to your music not only on another computer, but also on an Android device, via the Music app. I tried it on my Android smartphone and it works like a charm. Still, unless you have an unlimited data plan, I would suggest only using it through a Wi-Fi connection. This is how it looks.
OK, that was the Google Music screenshot tour. I hope you’ll find the service just as useful as I do.