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Google Music Beta invites now available

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May 23, 2011

Invites for Google's new Music Beta cloud streaming service are now available to U.S. user...

Invites for Google's new Music Beta cloud streaming service are now available to U.S. users

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It's been a good while coming but Google's music streaming service has finally arrived. Called Music Beta, it's available by invitation only and restricted to U.S. users ahead of roll-out elsewhere. The service appears to be very similar to Amazon's Cloud Storage and Player, although no music is on sale directly from Google. Rather than measure the size of your collection by the gigabyte, however, Google will allow users to store up to 20,000 music tracks from their personal collection in an online vault, with no restrictions on bitrate. Music Beta offers users instant sync across devices, the ability to play selected music offline and intuitive playlist creation based on the mood of a selected track.

Google says that so long as the Beta tag remains, its Music service will be free to use. There's no indication at the moment when subscribers will be expected to pay for the service or how much it will cost, but Google has a history of keeping Beta tags in place for a good while and its track record in online storage would hint at the lower end of the cost scale.

Like the rather disappointing Music Search before it, the new service is initially being made available to U.S. users only, those wanting to take it for a spin will need to apply for an invitation. Users elsewhere in the world will have to wait for a staged roll-out.

Once the invitation is secured, you'll need to get your music collection from your computer to your online library via a Windows and Mac compatible Music Manager application. The service is limited to MP3, AAC, WMA and FLAC file formats which may cause some issues for old iDevice users and lovers of other formats like OGG and APE.

Google's choice to automate much of the management rather than allow users to get their hands under the hood will no doubt be welcomed by those wanting quick, painless access, but is not so good for control freaks or power music managers.

Google Music Beta's online music browser

With the cloud library positively brimming with uploaded content, users can then access tunes through a web browser or up to eight devices running a dedicated Android app available for free (at the moment) download from Android Market.

As everything's stored in the cloud, the service offers instant sync between devices - so if you create a playlist on your home computer, it will be available straight away on your mobile device. If you have neither the time or the patience to create playlists then Music Beta offers to do it for you. Instant Mix will draw together 25 similar music tracks from your collection based on a chosen song to rock you hard or chill you out.

In theory at least, having your music collection available to you at all times sounds absolutely wonderful, but in reality such a service could quickly eat away at your monthly mobile allowance. To this end, Google has included the facility to manually select specific albums, artists or playlists or cache recently played music to play offline.

Although I feel that the new service is a welcome move in the right direction, Google will have to offer a lot more than this if it hopes to compete with Amazon's existing service and Apple's up and coming effort. Offering more user control for those that want it would be a good start, closely followed by catering for purchasing from within Music Beta itself.

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.   All articles by Paul Ridden
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8 Comments

Nahhhh, I don't buy it... I don't trust Google to manage my playlist, One day they will get a lawsuit and be ordered to erase your "illegal" tracks. Ill rather keep them where they belong. This is a waiste of time and money, if you want to make an intuitive playlist there is free software avilable online and all you need to get your music in a cloud is to upload it on Dropbox. This is just Google trying to get some of the iTunes pie, but this is not the way to do it. I see the Buzz all over again...

Nacho Lotitto
23rd May, 2011 @ 06:58 am PDT

"One day they will get a lawsuit and be ordered to erase your "illegal" tracks."

And what, exactly, is wrong with that?

There's a clue as to its appropriateness in your use of the word "illegal"...

Keith Reeder
23rd May, 2011 @ 09:25 am PDT

wow..!

Robert Chen
23rd May, 2011 @ 10:13 am PDT

I don't listen to music, I have only I bought a U2 CD once, have no clue where it went, couldn't care. I have never bought a song online, never will. That said, no one cares about illegal music, its all over the place, its only illegal because of the DMCA, which is an absurdly stupid law. We used to make really great copies of music off the radio when we were kids, it of course wasn't illegal. One day they will repeal the DMCA. I mean I ate sweat potato fries at a restaurant yesterday, you mean to tell me if I cook some at home and eat them, or share them with a friend, that's illegal? People who want to pay for music will people who don't won't... The average fake doctor on TV gets paid 10x what the average doctor in real life. "artists" make millions of dollars performing while people who butcher you steak, cook your food and take care of your grandmother make minimum wage..

Anyways, I don't think Google could ever be forced to delete "Illegal" tracks. They could be fined if they distribute in such away the music industry can prove it lost sales, but even then, they couldn't just delete your content.

Michael Mantion
23rd May, 2011 @ 08:25 pm PDT

Once again, only for the US

Barry Monolov
24th May, 2011 @ 02:27 am PDT

Michael Mantion Really? You compare buying potato's in the store (You buy them) and then paying for the electricity or gas to cooking them; to stealing someones work?

If an artist creates and records a song, and you like the song; and want to listen to it you don't believe that you should have to purchase it?

I am a programmer so I guess you could relate my work to that of a singing artist right? I spend my time designing and programming an application for MONTHS or even a year or more and I am not entitled to get paid for my work? You should just get it for free? You are kidding right? I mean you must be smarter than that, more logical than that?

Jeff Williams
24th May, 2011 @ 06:25 am PDT

Does no one get Cloud Pollution? We need to stop wasting electricity senselessly and creating RF pollution (3G) caused by sending and receiving all the the time, what we could actually store ourselves. Zillions of bits going back and forth all around the world, when personal storage in terabytes is becoming so cheap and plentiful. In a few years you will be able to store a petabyte -- I suppose a lifetime of data. Instead we want to put everything on a cloud? Does no one care about pollution and wasting electricity / warming up the planet anymore? Can you imagine the 1000- fold or more increase in wired and wireless traffic if everything went cloud instead of PC, laptop, phone and pen drive storage? This is a fad and a trend that is harming us. Speak up for the planet.

sidmehta
27th May, 2011 @ 01:00 pm PDT

sidmetha, are you one of those guys who wears a foil helmet so nobody can read your mind? The planet doesn't get hurt by radio waves flying around. I don't know what kind of phone you have that allows you to store a "petabyte" worth on info, but mine is only good for 32gb.

gear jammer
29th June, 2011 @ 09:19 pm PDT
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