Google Music Beta a lonely island. Full of potential, lots of hidden bananas and boars to hunt, roast and feast on merrily. Integration with Google+ seems inevitable, giving rise to something like Last.fm where you can see what your friends are listening to in real time, and perhaps like turntable.fm, listening to the same thing, together. Much like how those in a Google Hangout can all watch a YouTube video together. Or perhaps Google+ is not your cup of green tea– Twitter, Facebook, tumblr, YouTube sharing integration should all come into play. Social will come into play one day.
Until then, it’s an isolated product that cannot do squat except.. play music.. anywhere you’ve got a data connection, a computer or an Android (iOS is running the competitor iCloud, and the chances they’ll let Google push through a native app now? Slim).
Nonetheless, Google Music has proven useful in certain circumstances:
- My iPod is in the other room and I’m too lazy to get it, so I turn on Google Music Beta because I can’t move 15 feet away from my computer.
- With a few types and clicks, I can show everyone a new song that I recently got, who Daichi is, etc. Kick out a bad DJ and DJ myself.
- I can stream my library on my Chromebook (only 16GB SSD), instead of fiddling around with Pandora or Last.fm, trying to sort out the music I actually like and the music I dislike.
Is it worth it to pay a subscription fee for these conveniences? I’m not quite sure.
To get everyone on the ‘cloud’, it’s clear to me that one of the last frontiers for Google is iTunes. There is simply no web app that can best iTunes, and Google Music is a call to this challenge; it even has “mixes” like Apple’s “Genius mixes.” Yet, it’s missing one huge aspect: buying music in app. Clicking “shop this artist” just redirects one to Google Shopping. Like that works. There’s a reason why Froogle doesn’t exist anymore.
Sure, iTunes is bloated and far from being socially integrated in a useful way (Ping total phail), but it catalogues all of my songs nicely and syncs everything to my portable music player.. the iPod. With Google Music, I imagine Google is trying to abolish the physical storage MP3 dominance of Apple, but with data plans being strangled by AT&T and Verizon Wireless, this is foolish thinking indeed. You need lot of data to stream the amount of music I listen to each every day. Of course, songs can be cached in the memory, but let’s be honest, can my computer or future Android device really cache a few gigabytes worth of music?
Looking at Google Music now is like looking at a sad, undecorated cupcake. That cupcake has so much potential, like becoming a tea garden set, Hello Kitty, or a delicious picnic (nomnom hamburger). It has the potential for big-time drooling. Google is filled with some of the most creative, inventive people on Earth, and I know they can build a great product if they take the time, especially listening to beta user feedback. Listen to us: sync completely with iTunes, plays, ratings, smart playlists; allow download across multiple devices; create an in-app store.
With iCloud set to release this fall to the general public, Google better buckle in, or else it’ll be scrambling to catch up after an almost unassailable competitor. Case in point, Google+.
For now, Google Music Beta is only open to those who have received invites. To sign-up for an invite, and learn more about Google Music, click here.