Google Music Beta setup (w00t! Got my invite!)

May 26, 2011 § 1 Comment

For the second time this week, I’m uploading (almost) my entire music collection to the cloud.

Earlier in the week, I started using Amazon Cloud Player because I bought Lady Gaga’s new album for 99 cents and got the free 20 gig upgrade.

I used the player a little bit, but it was pretty much what I expected: my music, online. As I was listening to my own music I found myself wondering what would happen if I bought new music from iTunes the next day? It wouldn’t show up in my Amazon Cloud Drive, that’s for sure. I’d have to make sure I uploaded it there too, which to me, is just as bad as plugging in my iPod or Android phone to have to copy my new music.

Of course if I bought new music from Amazon, it would automatically be in the cloud player for me, so I resigned myself to just purchasing from Amazon.

But what if I found an old CD that I wanted to rip? I guess I’d be back in the same boat…having to rip it to iTunes, then go back into Amazon’s upload manager and re-upload to the cloud.

The entire point of Amazon’s cloud player is to get you to buy from Amazon and not get music from anywhere else. I get that. They’re trying to take business from iTunes, and offering free storage of anything you purchase from them is a great way to boost their sales.

But in reality, I get my music from a lot of different sources. I shop around. And as far as organizing music on my local machine, iTunes wins hands down. So much so that every other way of obtaining music (including Amazon) integrates into iTunes.

Until something better comes along, I’m going to keep using iTunes. It’s an interface I’m familiar with (since I’ve been using it for a decade) and you can’t beat their organization.

So while I was happy to be able to store my music in the cloud, I was itching for something more. Something dropbox like to keep all of my files in sync, so when I add music to iTunes, by whatever means, it would automatically by synced to the cloud.

Google Music Beta promised exactly that, so when I got my invite this evening, I was very excited to try it out.

In addition to keeping music synced to the cloud, the Google Music player on Android phones also pulls your music from the cloud, and keeps an updated list on your phone. It remains to be seen how much bandwidth that will cost me, but since I’m on an unlimited plan, and I spend a large part of my day in wifi zones, I’m not that worried about it.

So…on to the setup. Clicking the link in the my email took me to the Google Music Beta start up screen:

From Google Music setup

Blah, blah, blah….TOS:

From Google Music setup

This was interesting…I’m giving the rights to change my files?

From Google Music setup

Free music? Sign me up!

From Google Music setup

The interesting thing is that checking all of those categories netted me about 180 free songs. I already had quite a few of them, but free music is still cool. Incidentally, Apple actually did this when iTunes first came out. We purchased an iBook in the district I was working in when iTunes first came out (on OS9!) and there were about 150 songs already loaded on the computer.

Next came downloading the installer for Music Manager.

From Google Music setup

Like most installer packages now, this took about 3 seconds because the installer package actually goes and downloads the rest of the installation files.

Installing Music Manager:

From Google Music setup
From Google Music setup
From Google Music setup

You can change all of these settings once Music Manager is installed, too…

From Google Music setup

The scanning part took less than 5 minutes. The uploading….that take a little longer.

From Google Music setup

Now, I was actually expecting something iTune-ish to “manage” the music, and I was perfectly fine giving up iTunes and using the Google Tunes to manage all of my music. I was surprised to find that Music Manager actually just sits in your system tray and monitors whatever folder you told it to look at for music so it can keep things updated

From Google Music setup

Choosing the top line or “options” takes you into the options screen where Music Manager tells you what it’s doing, and where you can adjust your options (obviously).

From Google Music setup
From Google Music setup

The actual player just opens in a browser window, just like Amazon’s cloud player. The first thing I noticed was all of the music that was already in my list that I obviously hadn’t uploaded myself (free music…yay!)

From Google Music setup

It is laid out similarly to iTunes with your artists/albums/songs and playlist options along the left side.

The song list view is also similar to iTunes and with songs you upload from your iTunes library, it even imports the play counts!

From Google Music setup

At this point, it’s been running for about an hour and a little more than 10% of my music has been uploaded. I’ll update tomorrow with news about how long it finally took (it was over 12 hours for Amazon), and how everything integrates into my phone.

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