I had an early invitation to join Google Music around the time it first launched in Beta. I tried to love it, but there was one huge drawback when it first launched; it took forever to upload my personal music collection to the Google cloud, aka my account. I was lucky if I could upload a couple hundred songs a night, and I have DSL. This wasn’t just an isolated problem; it was product wide as all newbies experienced these lagging upload times. It wasn’t until Google opened to the public that the upload times had improved. Granted they still aren’t as speedy as I would’ve expected coming from Google. Google prides itself on the speed of their search results to the end user, so experiencing slow uploading times is a bit shocking. The slightly better upload speed was part of the reason I gave Google Music another shot.
I can’t say it was all about the improved upload speed that made me try Google Music out yet again. My Zune player, yes don’t laugh, bit the dust after nearly 4 years of harsh use. I needed a new player, stat, so I turned to my phone. I am not a bit fan of using my phone as a music player for several reasons, but Google Music makes the experience of using the device a smoother transition.
The strong point of Google Music is their playlists. I use the “Thumbs Up” playlist I created while listening to my collect. When I hear a song I want added to the playlist I just hit the thumbs up symbol and it’s automatically added to the list.
The other feature that is uber amazing is Google Music plays the songs I listen to the most when I am in shuffle mode, while shuffle on other devices and software is exactly that…just shuffle. I find myself not having to navigate through songs on shuffle mode as much because Google knows what I already love to listen to. Please note, I live and die by shuffle mode.
Google Music also offers free tracks and albums from top artists to users. They aren’t the typical “not so awesome” or hit songs from the artists either. I found myself downloading Monica’s “Angel” for free the other day along with a live album from Pearl Jam.
It’s a hardware thing. I mastered using my Zune player in the car and I didn’t have to look at the device to pick or shuffle songs. It was one click and away I went. Using my HTC G2 is a bit more difficult. I have to unlock my screen every time to change a song and I find myself looking down and not at the road. This is bad news…so I rarely use it in my car.
One item to note is Google “charges” for the free downloads, which can catch some people off guard. I signed into my online banking and saw a charge from Google, but days later it disappeared. It looks to be something Google has to do in order to execute the free download. Again, for Google who likes to take as few steps as possible to get users to their answers, takes on extra steps to execute a free purchase.
Another hiccup is the glitches. I have an extensive collection and could very soon reach their 20,000 song limit. This is awesome and also has its pitfalls. Whether I am on a 4G connection or a DSL, the software stalls playing certain songs in the collection when I am shuffling or even just running straight down the playlist. I want to say it’s because the software is trying to find and connect with the song in the cloud. Also I noticed that Google likes to rename songs and add album covers that aren’t correct. I now see Toni Braxton’s Secrets cover on most of the unknown covers. It is humorous to see the cover pop up when a Danzig song is selected to play.
While Google Music is still new and they are still working on improvements, Google Music is still growing on me. If they add a more user friendly song editing options and clean up some of the glitches I might fall in love. The one feature, for lack of a better term, that makes my heart all warm and tingly is the most played feature that brings up the songs I select the most during shuffle mode. I don’t know why all music software isn’t doing this now. FYI I avoid iTunes at all cost.