Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Music In The Cloud - Finally!

Having just bought myself a new laptop, I've been trying to work out a nice wireless way of transferring all my music onto it.  I've tried using Itunes Home Sharing, but it's been hopelessly slow (even over wireless) so I gave up on that.  I've been on the verge of just putting my library onto an external Hard Drive but this seems like a hopelessly old fashioned method of moving music around.  

I've been happily embracing the cloud this year, using Dropbox to share my documents around my devices and Firefox sync to keep my bookmarks unified internationally.

When it comes to music, I can happily wait for a decent solution to come along, and with the Cloud Wars hotting up, I knew it would only be a matter of time.

So imagine my joy on waking up to discover out that that not only was it another scorching Mediterranean day on the other side of my curtains, but also that Google were planning on launching a cloud system.  Anxiously, I waited through the day to discover whether or not Music Beta would tick all my boxes.  And come five o'clock, I discovered that it did!   All but one, very big, very important feature.  And one other possible problem too.

So, I'm going to list the features of Google Music Beta that really sticks out as features I need and/or appreciate;

  1. Storage; Google Music Beta offers storage of a phenomonal 20,000 songs.  My library has peaked at around 19,000 songs, and is currently sitting at around 14,000, so this should be more than enough space for me.  This kicks Amazons 1,000 song arse. 
  2. Price; Currently retailing at my favourite price of no pounds, no pennies and nothing else.  Except presumably information about what I listen to, which I already give out anyway to anyone who cares.
  3. Synchronisation; The music is stored in the cloud, but changes made on all your devices are stored and repeated everywhere else.  This was one of the things that put me off using Itunes Home Sharing as a permanent solution.  Imagine, everytime I add an album to my desktop computer, I would have to manually add it to my phone, and laptop as well.  This way, everything is synced and if I change something on one device, everything else will keep up.  Make a playlist, change a tag, add a song.  All there on all my devices.  I know it's gonna take a bit of time to upload 14,000 songs, but once it's done, maintenance syncing should take no time at all. 
  4. Device Compatibility; Vitally, Google have maintained their hubris and offered compatibility with Itunes.  Which means that I can easily upload my Itunes library to the cloud, and keep it synced with my Android phone!  Wahey! Additionally, I can also play my library through a web based browser.  When I'm using a computer I can't install onto, but need to work on, I can still listen to my music on it, improving my productivity by untold amounts! 
  5. Offline Streaming; I don't have a data plan on my phone, so happily I can just choose the songs I want from my library, and quickly download them to my phone for when I'm on the move, whenever I'm in a wi-fi zone.  Alternatively, I can access my whole library from my phone whenever I'm at a friend's house, in the library, or anywhere else. 
I know, doesn't it sound fantastic!  All the capacity of an Ipod classic on my humble ZTE Blade. But there's only one problem.  It's not available in the UK!!!! What's going on there???  Is this some kind of revenge for the US not having Spotify?  
My second possible problem is that I've heard rumours that it might require flash on Android devices, which would be a massive shame, since my ARMv6 equipped ZTE Blade doesn't support flash. 

So, as long as they release a flash free APK for my phone, and let people in the UK sign up, I think I'll be in my musical Nirvana, my Stairway to Heaven, feeling Hysteric, etc.    

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