This article is a review and some tips on using Google Play (GP). GP makes it easy to organize and access your MP3s, and certain other formats of music files. I recently discovered GP’s web-based music player, and was instantly hooked. Google Play rocks, and it lets you upload 20,000 of your songs for free.
I am a judgment broker who writes a lot. Apple’s iTunes is probably better, and has more features, however it takes up lots of disk space. Google Play is a free backup of your music, and the ease of free access to it, is the reason GP is awesome. GP is now my free and private almost infinite web-based music player. However, GP is not perfect. Of course, it does not let you share songs with your buddies online, but what (legal) music web site or software lets you do that?
With an “Apple-like” design, GP seems to have almost no configurations or features to adjust. Many will look for the features which GP “should” have, but are “missing”. Surprisingly, most web searches do not provide direct and helpful information about the features and details of Google Play.
GP’s missing features include no way to search for duplicate song titles, unless you manually find them. You cannot click on more than one song at a time, which is time-consuming if you want to delete ten extra copies of the same song. In GP’s song listings, there seems no way to see the year of the song or the encoding bit rate. You can click an arrow to see (or edit) the information in a song file.
Google explains that you can download the music you uploaded to GP only two times. I wish it was five times. In the future, I plan to use Google Play to organize and find duplicates of my songs. Over the next several months, I plan to find the best versions of duplicated songs to eliminate the extra copies. My plan is to clean the music list up a little each day, and then one day, download it all into a folder on my computer. That way, I will have a copy of my music for backup, and so I can listen when my internet goes down.
To upload songs, Google Play requires you to download and install their free Music Manager program. While you are uploading a bunch of songs, it is best not to scroll through GP’s web browser music player. While GP’s Music Manager is uploading files, GP’s browser screen refreshes so often, you may not enjoy navigating it. It is best to wait until the Music Manager is done uploading your current playlist.
When you are “Home” on the Google music player web site and click shuffle, it sometimes jumps to the song list. I would prefer it stay where it was, so I could click shuffle again, to move to the next random song. The song information does show up at the bottom of the browser window, however it would be more useful if it was next to the shuffle button. Also, the other shuffle button at the bottom of the song list did not work for me.
On the Macintosh at least, after you add a bunch of MP3s to iTunes, there is a delay until Music Manager starts uploading your songs. I found clicking on the few upload-related buttons in Music Manager, or quitting and restarting iTunes and/or Music Manager, had no effect on the delay before Music Manager started uploading, usually about 4-5 minutes for my playlist of 100 MP3s. Sometimes you need to click the upload button more than once to completely upload your playlist.
Another neat things about Google Play is it can save you money when buying portable handheld devices. The new model can be to install Google Play on your portable device and stream music on your device instead of storing it all. You can save money buying a device with less storage when you used to use that storage to save lots of music.
GP has a few other funny bugs. It seems to turn on the screen on my laptop near the end of each song, presumably because I might want to hit shuffle soon. I like battery life best, so for me this is not a useful feature, if I want to change the song, I have to go the computer anyway. It seems to occasionally have the old “Windows embarrassment algorithm”, in that the more potentially embarrassing a song file name is, the longer that name seems to stay on GP’s uploading window.
Also, it seems the more you play a song, the more often it seems to come up in their random “shuffle”. It is best to do massive uploads while your internet connection is not really busy. Even if you have Apple’s Music Match, why not also use Google Play to get one more way to back up and access your music?
On Wednesday, May 15, 2013 – Google Play changed format, I sure like their old format a lot more. A suggested improvement is have a new premium service, for example for $12 a year, they could save your last position on their service, more than 99% of the time I’m in my library’s song list. Update; Google Play changed how it works and I no longer use it, it now seems to cater to mobile devices now.