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Google Music update makes service useful for backing up tunes

The Web giant's two-month-old music service now offers users the ability to download songs in bulk, easing the process of restoring a PC music library.

Turns out Google Music isn't just about listening to tunes delivered from the Web.

Google just updated its Music Manager software that customers use to connect with its Web-based music service, turning it into a useful way to back up digital music collections stored on a PC. Now, Google Music users can download in bulk all of the songs they've uploaded to the service or purchased from the Google Music store.

When Google Music launched in November, it offered users the ability to upload 20,000 songs to the service all at once. That way, users could stream those songs to any browser or Android-based device, such as a phone, a tablet, or Google TV.

But they could only download the songs one at a time. That made the service virtually useless as a music library backup. That's because if a user's PC hard drive failed, he or she could only painfully rebuild the music collection from Google Music song by song.

"Now if your computer crashes, you'll have a great backup for your music," Google noted in a post on Google+ announcing the new feature.