Google Music Beta Review

Tags: Technology, Google, Music, Beta, iTunes, Pandora

Yup! I was one of the lucky ones to get invited to use google music beta. As payment back to Google, I will do my best to summarize my experience and thoughts about google music to help you decide if it is the right music solution for you.

TLDR

Initial Impressions

A LOT simpler to configure and run than iTunes. After installing their local app, it grabbed my music and started hefting it up into space (the "cloud"). I'm not sure if it's just part of the music beta program, but they gave me a ton of free songs from the genre's I liked as well. Once it ran the first music scan, it opened up google music in my favorite browser (Chrome), and I could instantly see all the songs that were already uploaded (quite a few, and continuing to upload at break-neck speed in the background over my mediocrely-high-speed internet connection).

Songs

This view will remind you much of iTunes, but with a lot less clutter and a lot more common sense. It's easy to see which songs you like and how many times they've been played. You'll notice the gray bar at the bottom where the player controls are, including the ability to rate the current song.

Google Music Beta Songs View

Artists

This view allows you to see all the artists you have, and some stats about what you own in your library. Again, super clean, super easy to read. Once you click on the artist of choice, it shows you a super clean view of each album you own for that artist, and the cooresponding songs.

Google Music Beta Artist View

Albums

Much like the artist view, it shows you a summary of your albums with art covers, and when clicked, shows you the song detail for the selected album.

Google Music Beta Album View

Genres

Now, this is a cool feature. It sorts your music into their respective genres, and upon clicking each genre, it shows you all the songs for all the music that you own within that genre.

Google Music Beta Genres

Instant Mixes

This is one of the coolest features in Google Music. You click one song in your list of songs, then click the "+" button next to "Instant Mixes" and it creates a channel with all the songs that have the same musical qualities of the selected song. A personal library Pandora, if you will. Super awesome for creating your own mood channels.

Google Music Beta Instant Mix View

Playlists

This one is pretty standard. Works/looks just like iTunes.

Search

The search is absolutely perfect. What did you expect? It instantly gives you any matching artists, albums and songs from any page you are on. Very handy!

Google Music Beta Search Bar View

Music Manager

This little beauty works hard behind the scenes to make sure that your Google Music Library is up to date with all of the music you own. Nice simple UI for managing the upload of your music.

Google Music Beta Manager View

Overall experience: 8/10

Super Pros:

- No need to have a huge hard drive for your music, they keep all your music up in space
- Streamable from *any device. (*They'll probably make clients for just about any OS as they finish things up, but it works right out of safari on my iPhone)
- Instant Mixes. Creates a Pandora-like experience within your own library

Pros:

- Simpler and easier than iTunes
- Powerful, ubiquitous (yup, I just used that word), instant search of songs, artists and albums within your own library
- Powerful play list management

Cons:

- Expensive to stream over network devices (looking at you, AT&T)
- Expensive for people with huge music libraries (extra storage must be purchased from Google)
- Virtually no new music discovery tools. Unless this is something that's rolling out once Google has approval from the "labels"... 
- Only one device at a time :( 

I hope you enjoyed this review, if you have any questions or requests, please indicate in the comments below. Thanks!


Edit:

- I can't seem to find where the storage limit is. The only thing I can find is 20,000 maximum songs. (I won't have a problem with that...)
- There does appear to be a streaming limit. I ran across an error message regarding that in their help section. Doesn't say what it is, though. 

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