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Friday, June 24, 2011

Google Music Beta

Signing Up And First Impressions

The moment I received my Google Music invite in my inbox I knew I had to sign up. Within 5 minutes I was browsing through music and listening to it through my awesome sound system. When you first click on the link to sign up there are some Terms and Conditions to be accepted. After that you are prompted to download the Music Manager which pretty much is just a tool to manage and upload the music on your computers. Once you have either downloaded the program or skipped the step you are brought to a selection of music genres to choose from. Selecting from this list will allow Google to find free music to add to your profile. After that you are good to go and brought to the main player. At first glance the player looks clean and smooth. The color choice is nice, not to bright and distracting while still giving to an overall appeal.

Main Music Player

The main music player is classic Google, very plain while maintaining a very sexy look. The color choice for this page is a white, grayish black, and orange. On the left side of the player is your library where you can find options to view from Recent, Songs, Artists, Albums, and Genres as well as Auto Playlists, Instant Mixes, and Playlists. The right side is dedicated to song information. Track Name, Time, Artist, Album, Plays, and Rating are shown and your library can be sorted using any of those topics. Across the bottom is a classic control panel which will give you control over Play/Pause, Skipping, Shuffle, Repeat, Volume, and Ratings. The player is overall very responsive working as well as I-tunes does natively on my computer. The music being streamed was of great quality sound and I have so far experienced no issues. You could almost think of the service as a GrooveShark but instead of just searching and adding music you upload your own to be listened to anywhere.

The Android App

The android app runs on any device running Android 2.2 or above and can be found on the Market. Once installed you are asked to link the app with your account. Once linked, music immediately starts showing up from your online player. The app will also display any music stored on your phone. The interface is rather slick and involves all swipe controls. You can browse by categories same as on the main player and music playback is seamless over 3G and Wifi.

Music Manager

The music manager program allows for a simple way to setup and control the upload of music stored on your computers into the cloud. The installation is quick and once done you are prompted to select where your libraries are stored and how you want automatic uploads to be handled. After that the service runs in the background and automatically starts back up should you need to shut off your computer. So far I have incurred absolutely no problems uploading my 2000 songs other than it taking awhile. Which is going to be normal uploading any large amount of data to the cloud. Music uploaded plays just as good as the music included with the account as well as just as good as the music played directly from my computer. The sound quality is very good and playback is seamless.

Final Thoughts

Overall the entire Music Streaming Service appears to be very nice and could turn out to be a good tool to have. However with Unlimited data plans coming to an end and rising prices for mobile data, Streaming any media on mobile devices could become a hassle. However for the time being it is a very enjoyable service and the ability to listen to my music from any device with a browser or app compatibility is a nice feature to have.

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