First Impressions – Google Music Beta

A couple of days ago I got my invite to Google Music.  This is Google’s web-based answer to Apple’s iTunes.  Given that I have an Android device I have been waiting for this since it was announced several months ago.

I got around to dabbling with it today.  So far it is pretty spartan and while the basics are solid some of the features I had expected to be there aren’t.

First off there’s no Linux support.  Music is uploaded by a music manager which is available only for Windows or Mac.  This could be mitigated by some in-browser uploading support.  This is web-based after all.  But no such option exists.

Secondly there’s no Ogg support.  As one of those geeks who actually purchases CDs and rips them myself I prefer Ogg Vorbis as a patent free, royalty free format.  Apple’s failing is that they have not, and probably never will, support Ogg.  When I purchased my Droid I was ecstatic to see that it supported Ogg.  So it is more than a little disappointing that the service which is supposed to feed music to my Droid doesn’t support all the formats the device itself supports.

On the other hand uploading is mostly painless.  Point it at a directory and it will recursively upload all music files in that directories children.  However I suspect that it will suffer from the same problem I have with other music management systems (iTunes & Doubletwist), not recognizing multiple formats of the same song.  I’d love for these to recognize that “06 – Forsaken.mp3”, “06 – Forsaken.ogg” & “06 – Forsaken.flac” in “Within Temptation – The Silent Force” means they’re the same song and only use the one I prefer for that device.  MP3 for my wife’s iPod, Ogg for my Android, FLAC for neither.

I also would like to see that Google Music would allow me to add RSS feeds for my regular podcasts.

As for the Android portion of the pairing I am unsure how well it works.  Since I have already downloaded all of my music to my Droid via Doubletwist it recognizes that local music and lists it.  There appears to be no distinction between local and remote copies at this time.

So far it is early and if the work on GMail and Google Reader are any indication they’ll continue to improve and add features as time goes by.  If anything I can always get off my ass and provide the above as feedback.

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4 responses to “First Impressions – Google Music Beta

  1. I got invited to the beta really early, so my views may be skewed. At the time, I was not impressed. It took me days, almost a week to upload all my songs. I had to reinstall the android app no less than 3 times to get it to finally work. Even then, it was lagtastic and refused to show all my songs/albums/artists. I sent in what feedback I could, and just left it at that.

    It’s been weeks though so maybe things have gotten ironed out. I’ll play around with it again soon.

  2. just got my invite today. my main complaint is the lack of vorbis support, so far. isn’t that the audio partner for google’s av3 killer *coughs* vp8 or whatever? that said, it is beta…and i’d imagine mp3 probably accounts for 90%+ of the music files out there…maybe a little less for early adopters since we would be more inclined to embrace less common formats.

    …on a somewhat similar note, have you used grooveshark? i’m pretty impressed at the selection but imagine they will succumb to lawsuits and the likes if they start getting much notice. take care!

    • I have not. Mainly because I found Pandora months before I was informed of Groovesharks’ existence. Pandora has really made great recommendtions & the have an Android app for listening on the go.

      • word. i’ve been rocking last.fm and pandora for a while now…enjoy both. grooveshark is a totally different dinosaur, though. worth a glance…even for someone like myself who serves all my music from my home server via Zina (of pancake.org ilk).

        thanks for the write-up and reply!

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