Google Music

Friday, June 3, 2011

I’ve been playing with Google Music, off and on, for about a week now. There’s not really a lot to say about the service itself. You sign up, they give you a bunch of free music, then you start uploading your own songs.

Streaming works great, even on my iPad. On my MacBook Pro, where I don’t have Flash installed, I created a Fluid app and changed the user agent to iPad and everything just works. Navigation is fine, play controls are fine. Instant Mix isn’t very good, but I imagine it will improve.

The first real problem with Google Music is the uploader. Once it starts, you can leave it running in the background and it will continue uploading your music whenever you have an Internet connection. Unfortunately, it fails a lot, and there’s not anything to do about it. On my MBP I have 3,120 songs. When I started it said it was uploading them all. A few days later I check and it’s on 2,781 of 3,043 songs. That’s where it’s sat ever since. What happened to those 77 songs? And why can’t it finish uploading that other 262?

I ran the troubleshooter, and it told me that it couldn’t upload Apple Lossless format, and it gave me a list. But most of the songs on that list were MP3s. It also had another list of songs that had an error uploading. Ok, but what do I do with that? There’s no option to retry those files. It certainly doesn’t seem to be retrying on its own. Those songs play just fine for me. There doesn’t seem to be any option other than to leave the Music Manager in a constant state of not done.

Another problem is there’s no way to get your music out of Google Music. If you have an Android device you can download songs to it, and presumably there would be a way to copy those files off the device back to your computer. But if you don’t have an Android device you can only stream or delete your songs, you can’t download them back to your computer. This seems like a rather silly form of DRM. Certainly doesn’t seem “open”, that’s for sure.

The fact that it can’t handle Apple Lossless format could be a big problem (a problem Amazon’s Cloud Player has as well). iTunes sells a lot of music. If people can’t upload those purchases to these services, it’s hard to imagine they’ll stick with it.

Maybe it will get better, but right now Google Music just seems like more trouble than it’s worth.