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CNET First Look
Music Beta by GoogleGoogle is preparing to launch a test version of a new digital music service that will enable users to upload their music libraries to the company's servers. Donald Bell tests it out.
Hey I'm Donald Bell and today we're taking a First Look at Google Music Beta. This is Google's new cloud music service that allows you to upload your music collection to your Google account and stream it to any browser or Android device. The set-up is simple. After registering for the service at music.google.com, you'll see a page for adding free music to your collection based on your favorite genres, and a link to download Google's Music Manager software. You'll run through a few simple set-up pages, where you can tell it where to find your music and how often to update. After that, assuming you have fewer than 20,000 songs in your collection, the Music Manager will work on uploading them all to your account. While you wait, you can jump onto the Music Beta site and look through content as it uploads. The site is organized in a two-pane view similar to iTunes, with your library and playlists on the left and play/pause, volume, and shuffle controls across the bottom. Some cool features worth point out: in song view you'll notice that play count and rating info from iTunes, which you can sort by. You also have the option to create playlists on the fly, including Instant playlists that create a 25 song playlists automatically based around any song in your collection. Now, for Android fans, the big payoff for using Music Beta is that any Android phone or tablet will be able to tap into your music collection right out of the box using the built-in Music app. Even if you're away from a Wi-Fi collection, any of your recently played songs are cached on the device for local playback. We wish we had the option to download tracks back down from the cloud, like Amazon's Cloud Drive service, but considering the price and the generous storage of Music Beta, we think Google has a winner here. Anyway, there's nothing preventing you from using both. So that's Music Beta from Google. For CNET.com, I'm Donald Bell.