Early preview and walkthrough of Music Beta by Google

Posted on May 25 2011 - 3:08pm by Mike Wewerka
google music beta Early preview and walkthrough of Music Beta by Google
Imagine my surprise when I feel my phone “chirp” in my pocket, alerting me that I have a new email and when I open it up, I see my invite into the Music Beta by Google. I immediately went to my computer and started the process.

First, you’ll have to click a link in the email and you are taken to a page about privacy concerns, basically all the legal stuff that lets you know what Google is going to be taking away from this process, it is a Beta after all. Once you agree to everything you’ll be prompted to check some boxes based on your musical taste, for things like: Jazz, Classical, Pop, Rock, Metal etc… Afterwards you are again prompted to download the “Music Manager” a desktop app that sits in the background and is the invisible link between your music files on your computer and the cloud that is Google Music. The program is merely a little window with a few options like “select music, advanced, and about,” That’s it. Under Select Music you are given the choice of where to pull music from such as: iTunes Player, Music Folder or Other folders. Under Advanced you’ll find the options to sort of customize those selections. You can select to have music upload automatically, at most once per: (thus picking an hourly interval) and then finally, manually. You can also pick the speed of the upload. Then there are the usual “Start when the computer is restarted” and the obligatory “Help” Google by submitting crash reports buttons, again, this is a beta. Finally the about tab is just that, it’s about the current version of the software, more legal stuff.

There is also a button for “Go to the Music Player.” This will take you to the same page as music.google.com. Once you open the Music Player (web) page you can manage all the music. On the left side of the screen is a column with header like “My Library” which has the following sub headers: New and Recent (for all the songs that have been uploaded), Songs, Artists, Albums and Genre. Below that is another header, this time for Auto Playlists. You can select to have playlists by new songs, free songs or “Thumbs Up” songs. When you add music or even for existing songs, you can give them a “Thumbs Up”  next to the listing telling Google Music that you really like that song and want it to play more frequently. The next subhead is called “Instant Mix”, which allows you to pick 1 song you really like and click this button and Google Music will pick out 25 songs of similar interest to create a quick play list. The last header is a normal play list that you can build yourself manually.

The first thing you’ll notice when you open the Google MusicBeta is that you’ll have music you didn’t expect (at least for this beta). In the beginning when you were filling out stuff and selected the genre of music you enjoy, Google goes through that and give you a bunch of free stuff based on your input, so choose categories wisely. Some of the songs I kept, others I trashed right away. The interface is very similar to that of the web version of the Android Market. You can click on an album and you’ll notice once it comes up it shows a list of song(s) on the cover art there is a little down arrow, if clicked it gives you options about the album, like: Play Album, add album to playlist, edit album, delete album and shop this artist (which takes you to a google search page for that artist in a new window).

In the upper right section of the page you’ll see “add music” and “get player for Android.” They are both self-explanatory, but the link for the Google Android version takes you to the web base Market and points you to the download link for the player, Music.

Once you’ve downloaded the player you’ll have to open it on your Android powered handset. Click on the menu button and select, settings. The top option is called Google Account, tap that and it will automatically connect your Gmail account and the player and pull in the whole library you have on the net. Other than that, you’re all set to start listening to music.

So far my experience has been good, no real hiccups or bugs to report as of yet. The only problem is the lack of an actual store to purchase the music, which I’m sure will follow as soon as Google can get the music industry to agree, which could be hard now that they have gone ahead without their approval to get this far.

Anyway, I’m digging the overall design and implementation and since I won’t be getting iTunes on my Android, I’m going to be using this service to get my music online and to free up storage on my Nexus. As for music on my computer, I’ll continue to use iTunes, because I just like they way it works, the large catalog and since Google Music can pull music from it, it all works easily for me.

If and when, I hit any trouble, bugs or major concerns with this beta, I’ll be sure to update you all here.