I’m a big fan of both Google and Amazon. Inovation and a web experience like no other, Google continues to bring amazing technologies to the forefront of our internet browsers (in my case – Google Chrome). And Amazon brings me all kinds fun through not only digital toys, but physical objects delivered to my door. So when I was accepted into the Google Music Beta program and had a chance to compare the two company’s services, I was, to say the least, excited.
Google Music Beta:
Google Music Beta is a cloud based music service, accessible from any computer or Android smart phone. The ability to upload your music collection to the Music Beta servers and stream to any location with internet access (pretty much anywhere) is a music lover’s dream come true. While Google isn’t the only company in the cloud based music business (recently announced iCloud and Amazon Cloud Player) they do offer the largest amount of storage right out of the gate. No one knows exactly how much storage, but Google isn’t measuring it in terms of GB but rather a 20,000 file limit. That’s right, twenty thousand files. While this doesn’t actually hold my entire collection, it sure does hold the best of the best with room to spare and should hold most people’s no problem.
Once access was granted to Google Music Beta (invitations are slowly rolling out) all I had to do was download the Music Manager, the local software which will automatically scan your music folders and start the uploading process. Reports are mixed about how long this process takes. I only uploaded 200+ tracks at first to test it out and it didn’t seem to take much time at all. Where I to upload the full 24,000+ songs in my library I could see it taking a while longer. At that point I started to see where, while Google Music is awesome, it’s just not for me. Because I can’t upload my entire library, I have to go through and select the folders I would like to upload. If there were an option to tick the folders to upload (see Amazon for this one) it would be much easier, but as it stands I have to navigate to each folder, click “OK” and then repeat the process. I only uploaded a few folders before I gave up on the process. I imagine I will go back and strategically upload a few more, but right now it’s just not practical.
Amazon Cloud Player:
In contrast, Amazon Cloud Player‘s web interface is also nice and clean. Albums and Artists are easy to find and playback is very smooth. My first attempt to upload music resulted in the uploading program crashing, but my second attempt went a little better by only adding a few folders at a time. Still, this process is tedious. Once the scan of my music folder was complete it only showed me the album titles rather than artist and then album, like my current library structure. Amazon did well here though by allowing me to
simply “tick” the boxes of the albums I wanted to upload. I also like the fact that Amazon will allow you to re-download your songs from the cloud while Google doesn’t appear to allow this. Amazon’s service comes with 5 GB free storage or 20 GB with the purchase of an MP3 album from Amazon MP3. One of my artist’s collection took 200+ MB of this space. Amazon offers a free Android app to listen to your music on the go, making it just as accessible on the go as the Google option.
Both services offer a great way to listen to music on the go. I can’t wait to see what changes in the near future as each service learns from each other’s mistakes and triumphs.
Google Music Beta:
Pros: Lots of storage
Great web interface
Tied to Google Account
Cons: Music Manager uploading is tedious if not uploading everything
Can’t download music from cloud, only stream
Amazon Cloud Player:
Pros: Great web interface
Better uploading experience
Bonus storage by buying an album from the Store
Ability to download from the cloud
Cons: While free, 5 GB fills up fast