Yesterday, Google announced their own free cloud-based music service, aptly called “Google Music.” If the idea of uploading your music library to a “cloud” for access anywhere sounds appealing, but you’re a bit confused as to what Google’s actually doing, here’s the five things that we’ve learned over the last 24 hours.
1. It doesn’t have major label support
Google is cranky about the fact that the major labels weren’t on board, claiming to Billboard that the majors were “less focused on innovation and more on demanding unreasonable business terms.” This means that you have to first own the music you want to listen to in order to play it.
2. It’s designed to work seamlessly with your Android mobile device
That’s code for “it doesn’t work with iPhones,” but users should get an equivalent from Apple soon. For the steadily-growing percentage of the population that uses Android devices, this’ll will mean you can access your music library anywhere via your phone.
3. The party’s invite-only at the moment
And priority on getting one of those invites goes to people who own a Motorola Xoom tablet or who were at Google’s I/O conference. We’ll see how long it takes for the invites to actually end up in people’s inboxes.
4. It does most of the same things that Amazon’s “Cloud Drive” does
But it caps the song limit at 20,000, so if you’ve got one of those massive collections of Smashing Pumpkins bootlegs, you’ll have to narrow it down to the best thousand sets Billy Corgan ever played. It’s free while in Beta, though, and the 5 gigs of free storage Amazon offers doesn’t come close to matching that.
5. It saves your most recently-played songs to a cache on your device for offline play
So that’s cool, right? If you’re somewhere with spotty coverage and can’t access your Google Music, you’ll still get to listen to the same few songs over and over — a notion that reminds us of the simpler times of physical media’s lack of necessary connectivity to work.