Okay, let's say you went out and bought a Joshua Radin album and you put it on your iPod. That's great, you listen to it, enjoy it, then you lose your iPod. What do you do then?
TO THE CLOUD!!!
Google has done something that Amazon, Apple, and a few others have already done. Why should anyone be surprised that Google isn't in the thick of things that the people want right now?
So what makes Google Music better/worse than other services? Well, I don't know much about the iCloud, but I got a beta invite to Google Music and I like it so far. Amazon limits the total size of free music to 5GB. You can upgrade for a fee to 20GB, but I'm all about the free stuff.
Google Music limits it's current users to 20,000 songs. YEP! That's right... 20k!!! And to get things started, they give you a good bit of music to get your feet wet.
Now, About The Interface
For starters, you have to download the "Music Manager" software to upload your tunes. I didn't particularly like that, but some things are necessary to keep things under control. The manager registers your computer and you have up to like 8, I think. It basically runs the same way Netflix does on their streaming service.
Basically you have a Play/Pause, FWD, BACK, SHUFFLE, REPEAT, THUMBS UP/DOWN, and VOLUME button to play with. You can see the album cover (if available) and the progress of the song as it goes. You can also create and even import your playlists.
For testing purposes, I just had it import my iTunes database. As you can see from the picture, some of the songs have been skipped due to size (it's trying to pull audiobooks too for some reason), corruption, or empty files. After a full 24 hours, I think my whole database should be about uploaded. Then I can delete all the audiobooks and listen away. The manager will also load with your computer (if you allow it) and it will look for new music to upload automagically in your watch folders or iTunes database.
OVERALL TAKE ON IT?
I'll keep working with it. I have one of the pilot CR-48 laptops and I am waiting for a Chrome Store App for it that will make things easier, but for now I can remember music.google.com when I need to go to it. I also have every intention of getting an Android phone before too long, so then I'll be able to take my music with me in the cloud and save my storage on my phone and memory card for movies, pictures, video, games, apps, etc.
If you can get an invite, try to get one... At least use it for now until they decide on a price. I understand they plan on charging for this, but we'll see what happens once Apple goes live. Maybe they'll just interrupt every few songs with a short commercial like Pandora does to keep things free.
Anyway, that's my take. If you click the Amazon link above, listen to some of the Joshua Radin music. It's soft, mellow, relaxing, and overall good in that folky sort of way.