Screenshot of recently played music, using album art, on Google Music
With the unveiling of its new online music store Wednesday, Google upped the ante in its ongoing battle against Apple and Amazon's cloud-based music services, but it still has some minor kinks that prevent it from that instant wow factor.
For instance, I've been using on Music Beta by Google for awhile now, which was previously only available by invitation starting this past summer. It's been decent, especially in being able to sync between the desktop player and the Music app on my Android phone. There was also a lot of free music, although much of it was so-so, but some stood out: "Champagne supernova" by Oasis, "Brick" by Ben Folds Five and "Gravity rides everything" by Modest Mouse.
In its newest iteration, Google Music offered some new free music, which I grabbed immediately: "I don't want to know," by The Swell Season. While it showed up immediately in the desktop version, I waited for about a half hour for it to show up on my phone, and only after I had downloaded the 4.0.9 update that came out yesterday.
The checkout screen of Google Music, once you've added a song
I'm guessing the lag time can be attributed to having to install the newest version and processing that, because once installed, subsequent additions kicked in super fast. I "bought" the free song, "Palomino" by Mates of State and within a minute later, it was on my phone. Hubba, hubba! I could get used to this. Now, I can see the wow.
Here's Google's intro to its Music app, which you can find on Android Market for free:
Another perk for friends: if you share the purchase — or in my case, the free additions — then anyone you share it with on Google+ will be able to listen to it for free too, once.
I also took advantage of another Google Music feature: pinning favorites amongst my phone library of music for offline playback. (It got annoying when it only let me play music I bought and not any of the freebies.)
Google Music also allows users to upload 20,000 of their own songs to it. I haven't added that many yet, but it won't take long to do so. Or, buy music on Android Market. It'll show up in the Google Music app, both on your desktop and phone(s).
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Two Internet giants now offer bring-your-own-tunes music services, which let you stream your own MP3s to PC, phones and tablets. How do they differ? And who else is joining the fray?
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