In contention with online music stores like Apple iTunes and Amazon MP3, Google has finally and officially launched its very own Google Music last Wednesday. At first glance, this cloud-based service seems pretty similar to what Apple and Amazon has to offer with their online music storage. However, there are a few subtle differences between Google Music and the rest that might eventually place the former on top of the competition.
Google Music is free to all users and can be accessed through the web, desktop and mobile devices. As a starter, the service is currently only available in U.S. It is also supported by major labels such as Sony Music Entertainment, Universal and EMI, amounting to a total of 13 million tracks in the music store. To sweeten the deal, Google Music allows the automatic backing up of iTunes and most other music files such as MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG and FLAC extensions.
Got you excited about it yet? If you’re still not, here are a couple of its key features that will bound to make you so:
1. Free music
Other than the daily ‘Song of the Day’, Google has been signing deals with Rolling Stones, Shakira, Busta Rhymes and Maroon 5 to give you exclusive recordings from your favorite artistes and bands. You just might listen to their new tracks before anyone else on Google Music.
Besides, as I mentioned earlier, Google Music is backed by major and independent labels so there’s no need to worry about not getting the music you want.
2. Seamless Uploading & Downloading
So how do you download them? If you’re using your Web browser to download purchased music, Google limits you to do so only twice. After which, you would have to use Google Music Manager app. This is where you can not only conveniently download tracks directly to your computer, but also upload them readily to Google’s servers.
3. Store Songs on Google’s Servers (For Free)
This cloud-based storage system for Google Music enables you to store up to 20,000 songs online (with no limit to the total size of the files) which are encoded as 320Kbps MP3s. Once you have your music library on Google’s server, you get to stream the music into any compatible devices. Make any changes on your Google Music pages and they will be synced across all your devices.
The thing that Google music stands out from the rest is that unlike iTunes Match and Amazon’s Cloud Drive, the online music storage service is free. What’s more, the 20,000 songs limit does not apply to music which you purchased from the Android Market. I guess it is Google’s way of encouraging us to buy music from them.
4. Share music using Google+
Google+, the latest social networking service online, is taking Facebook by Storm. Now, Google Music is even integrating with this promising platform.
If you have an account with Google+, sharing music with your friends couldn’t get any easier and more user-friendly than this. Your friends and followers will be able to freely playback the entire song you’ve just shared once. If they wish to purchase the song, they can simply click on the Buy button.
This means you can share an entire album and let your peers appreciate your favorite genre of music. Of course, this only applies to those which you’ve purchased from Android Market and not those which you’ve uploaded.
5. Android Market’s New Music Section
With Apple’s iPhone and iPad supported by iTunes, Google intended for Android smartphones to hook up with their latest Google Music service as well. There is now a music section in Android Market where you can browse and preview new music. If you decide to purchase it and do so, it will be automatically reflected on your Google Music pages. At the moment, tracks are sold at decent prices of 69c, 99c and US$1.29.
6. Google Music Artist Hub
Keen on distributing or selling your own music? Google Music Artist Hub allows you to do just that. You get to determine the pricing for each of your precious tunes and keep 70 percent of that. The rest of it goes to Google. Build your own page as an independent musician for a one-off fee of US$25 and you’re all set to go. With millions of Android, Google Music and Google+ users out there, Google Music is undoubtedly one of the best platforms to spread your music.
Facing decreasing popularity competing with Facebook, it looks like MySpace might have just been dealt with the final blow from Google Music.
7. Offline Sync
What happens if you accidentally got disconnected from your 3G or Wi-Fi? Wouldn’t the streaming stops abruptly and ruin your enjoyment? Fortunately for you, Google has taken that into consideration and put in place some offline capabilities. Google Music will store those songs which you have been playing recently into cache, so that they don’t get cut halfway.
You also have the option of selecting those songs that you want them to be able to play offline.