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Google Music

I love my music and have been waiting to try Google’s “answer” to Apple iTunes.  Today is the day I installed the free Google Music service and so far I like what I see (and hear).

I have over 3,000 songs on my computer and they are still uploading (yes, uploading) to the Google Music cloud as I type this.  This one-time process will take a while but when they are securely stored within my Google account it will be a great way for me to listen to my music wherever I am with whatever computing device I have at hand.

Here is a simple way to describe what Google Music is all about, according to ZDNet.com:

Google Music enables you to you store your music on the cloud. While Google will now let you buy music from the Android Store, it’s really more of an online music storage locker than a competitor with Apple’s iTunes Store.

Unlike other cloud music and storage services, Google doesn’t give you a fixed amount of storage space. Instead, you can it to store up to 20,000 songs. On the Google Music Web page, Google provides a counter to let you know how close you are to hitting your limit. At an estimated 5MBs a song that works out to about 100GBs of storage. The cost? Not one red penny.

To file music into your library, you need to use Google’s Music Manager – available for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows.  You can use Music Manager to load files from iTunes, Windows Media Player, or directly from directories. You can load your entire music collection up to 20,000 songs.

You can upload your MP3, AAC, ogg, and FLAC encoded songs into your Google Music library.  I have already realized that you can not, however, load Digital Rights Management (DRM), AFLAC, wac, aiff, or ra files.

Your music can be played by using a web browser on any PC.  On Android devices, you can listen to your music with the Google Music App..  This requires Android 2.2 and above.  If your smartphone doesn’t meet those requirements you can still listen to you music via the web browser once you have Adobe Flash installed.  The graphics on the app look good on the Motorola Droid Razr and Samsung Galaxy S2 devices I am testing now.

There are, of course, some drawbacks with this first version of Google Music.  It can’t rip music from CDs so you will still need a program to get your music off all media into your computer.   The Google Music store is rudimentary at best right now.  It has the basic features but not a lot of selection yet.   Google has signed deals with three of the big four music companies but is still negotiating with Warner Music Group.   Hopefully that will be done soon so I can get my Flo-Rida and Gym Class Heroes fix on.

Google of course integrated its music store with Google+ so you can share any music you get with your friends.  People in your Google+ Circles can listen to entire songs or albums.

Bottom line: Me likey!  It’s free and it offers a large amount of music storage.  Plus the ability to listen to my music anywhere I go is, well, priceless.

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