Have been planning to test Google Play and this weekend finally uploaded my iTunes library to it, a total of about 4,500 songs. It took several hours to complete although now keeps track of any new songs added to iTunes and adds those transparently. The service also clones your iTunes Playlists, play count and other data and permits the upload of 20,000 songs at no charge. Your music is now available on “any” computer and up to ten other devices.
Google Play is not as polished as iTunes (yet), but what I like about it is the ability to download my entire library of songs and not be restricted to cloud only storage of my MP3 files. I don’t know about you, but I feel better actually having all my MP3 files on a disk, right here and not jailed on a server farm permitting me “access” to it.
For me, this was a major plus as my iTunes library source files were scatted throughout many folders in addition to a few external network drives and probably yet another drive on my network server, therefore I’d probably have a difficult time locating everything to centralize a final absolute location for my music. For some reason my music collection was never that organized?
Now that all files have been uploaded, I can download everything to one system and make a handy backup to a few DVD’s for safe keeping and for this reason alone, the effort was worthwhile.
Another benefit to Google Plus, aside from the fact your entire library is now accessible to play from any computer, tablet, Android phone, etc., is that regardless of the quality of your original source file, playback can be set to high quality 320Kbps. When playing your music from the cloud, Google Play can detect the speed of your internet connection and adjust the bit rate based on available bandwidth although music will be played at a higher bit rate (up to 320Kbps) when using a fast internet connection.
Most will find the web interface quite “Google-ish” as in very basic and utilitarian but hey, this is Google so what else is to be expected? Apple diehards will certainly fluff off Google Play and yes, it needs a bit of polish although it certainly is another shot at Apple and a force to be reckoned with.