• Google Play Music Locker

    On April 10, Google Play Music became available in Australia. Google Play Music is Google's answer to iTunes and iTunes Match - a combined digital storefront and "music locker" service. Having recently paid for iTunes match, the "music locker" service was the feature I'm most interested in. So how do they compare?

    Google Play, like iTunes Match, allows users to upload 20,000 songs to the cloud. iTunes is $35 per year, a price I was happy to pay for offsite back up and availability on all my devices. Google Play is completely free though, so it wins on price.

    Play is as clever as iTunes when it comes to uploading. Play can scan your iTunes library and match (rather than upload) any tracks it recognises, which greatly reduces upload time. The whole thing is handled by a "Music Manager" preference pane on OSX. It would seem that Play recognised more tracks than iTunes on my machine, iTunes took around 4 days to complete its Match and Upload, Play took one night.

    Gmusic iPhone View

    As you'd imagine, Play has an official Android app, but no iOS app. The Android app behaves much like iTunes, allowing you to play, stream, cache, and download your tracks. There are a number of Play compatible apps on iOS, the best I found was Gmusic. Gmusic is $1.99 for a universal app, it's settings menus aren't the prettiest thing on the planet, but playback view is more than pretty enough, and it's settings mimic iTunes - letting you play, stream, cache, and download.

    Gmusic iPad App

    Another benefit of Play is it will work in any modern browser, so you don't even need to install an app if you don't want to. The web view is really nice, mimicking the new Album view of iTunes 11. And yep, it works in Safari on IOS as well.

    Web View

    Overall, Play is just a little bit better, faster and more convenient than iTunes match, and its free. If you haven't taken the plunge yet with iTunes Match, Play may be just what you were looking for in a digital music locker.
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