I signed up this evening for Google Music. I saw some ad text at the very bottom of google.com which advertised songs for as low as $0.49, so I signed up. I’ve since seen music from $0.49 on up to $1.29, so there is apparently some spread in music pricing.
Signing up was super easy, as I already have a gmail account. I just logged into it with the same credentials I use for gmail. Most of Google’s services work this way, so that is not extraordinary. My first thought however with this was “Great, yet another service Google knows that I use.” (Since I use the same login for just about everything…)
It then prompted me to download “Music Manager” which is an application which can interface with the iTunes on my Mac and upload my songs directly to Google. I started the upload process, but wow does it seem wasteful to do that. I can almost assure you that 80% of the songs in my music library already exist somewhere on Google Music. I would hope that they do some kind of metadata library combined with hashing music files to determine if a song already exists or not on their service. I know that I would.
I’m doubtful that they are using that kind of process, though, because it’s been running now for a while and has not completed uploading my music library.
Currently it doesn’t appear that there is an official Google Music iPhone app on the Apple App Store for Google Music, but I did find a few applications which apparently can interact with my account and play my music. I don’t trust them, though, and they are also not free for the most part, so I am not downloading them. I can get away with that because Google Music works fine through Safari on the iPhone (!!!) You can browse your library AND play your music directly in the browser.
That is very impressive use of HTML5. The only issue is that I can’t control the music with my bluetooth headphones or through the iPod controls which appear at the bottom of my iPhone when I pull them up.
I’m enthusiastic that a third-party application can control my Google music account. I haven’t looked into any kind of API’s, but it means I could possibly develop my own interface of some kind.
Apparently there is no desktop application for using Google Music on the Mac, you just have to use your web browser. That’s a bummer. But if the APIs are open which those third-party apps suggest, it couldn’t be too hard to develop your own.
I like Pandora, but I’ve always been leery of cloud-based music services. I live in Tennessee, just south of Nashville. The places I spend my time are mostly urban, but there are times when I’m driving out in the country and don’t have a good 3G internet connection. That’s a little worrisome to me. My car’s stereo has A2DP integrated with it, so I am usually listening to music on my phone directly through my car’s speakers wirelessly. So when I’m listening to music while driving, it’s usually free music that I’m streaming from Pandora. Losing a connection can cause problems with that, and Google Music will suffer from that.
Overall I have had a great first impression with Google Music. I’m going to keep using it!