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How to use Google Music

Google Music is finally came out of beta and is now available to anyone with a Google account. But why would you need yet another music streaming service? Well, the simple answer is you probably don’t. But it turns out that Google Music is a very slick and easy-to-use application, which has some very real advantages over other music services, particularly if you already have an Android mobile device.

Google Music is entirely cloud-based, which means no cables, no syncing between devices, and no storage issues. If you want to take a more detailed look, here’s how to get started:

  • Using the same computer that you use to store your music, log in to your Google account and go to Google Music (https://music.google.com/).
  • Click on the link to Download Music Manager and follow the instructions for installation and set-up.
  • Once set-up is complete, Music Manager will then ask you where your music collection is stored and if you want to upload all your songs to Google Music. You can store up to 20,000 songs and all common file formats are supported. Best of all, you can upload everything from iTunes and even elect to have future iTunes purchases uploaded to Google Music automatically. (How long the upload takes will obviously depend on the size of your song collection and your connection speed. I was able to upload approximately 80 songs per hour. You can play songs and access all the other Google Music features while the upload continues in the background.)
  • You can now listen to your music from any computer just by opening a browser, logging on to your Google account, and opening the Google Music application. Songs, albums and playlists are located to the right of your Google Music home screen, while player controls are at the bottom. Google Music is compatible with Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and IE7.
  • You can purchase songs or albums by clicking on Shop in Google Music or by going to the music store in the Android Market. Album prices vary, with many on special offer. Individual songs are either $0.99 or $1.29, exactly matching the pricing structure on iTunes. Songs are paid for at the time of checkout. Music purchased through the Android Market doesn’t count against your 20,000 song storage limit. (Google currently has about 2 million songs available through the Android Market. They have agreements in place with the majority of major record labels and are working on the others.)
  • Now comes the good part. To listen to Google Music on your Android device, just download the Google Music app from the Android Market and sync the app with the Gmail account that you used to set up Google Music on your computer.
  • You have now effectively turned your Android device into a cloud-serviced iPod, giving you access to all your music wherever you go. You can even select artists or albums for offline listening, so you can listen to your music on an airplane or when there is no signal. Again, any music you buy from the Android Market on your mobile device will automatically be added to your cloud-stored collection and will be available from any other Google Music-enabled device.

If you are an Android user, then Google Music makes perfect sense, and even if you’re not, it pays to have your entire music collection available from any computer wherever you go. Just remember that streaming music to a mobile device will count against your data allocation, but apart from that, the Google Music service is entirely free!

Comment by ellen, posted 3/9/2012, 11:39 AM:

Thanks! I didnt even know it was there!!!
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