How dare Google? How dare they launch a music service that isn't the apparent iTunes killer people are clearly desperate for? How dare Google provide a free cloud music service that's cross compatible with other devices outside of the Android environment? I mean, iTunes files are only usable in the iTunes-compatible environment, so who does Google think they are offering a service that allows you to scan and upload your iTunes files up to the free cloud storage facility and allow you to access these files from any connected device?
Considering the amount of vitriol concerning Google Music's launch, you'd think the service completely reformatted and deleted everybody's hard drive, or, at least, it was completely unusable. The funny thing is, Google Music is quite usable, if, for nothing else, the fact that it offers free cloud storage, and after watching Josh access files from his workstation computer -- a Mac -- the service works just fine, at least in regards to free cloud computing.
Sure, there are issues with not securing all of the major labels -- Google has three of the four -- and no, the service is not all that it can, and probably will be. That being said, it's not the burning husk of wasted web code some are making it out to be, either. Unless, of course, you think this kind of criticism is valid instead of more Google bashing:
Tying a music store to a storage locker is not enough anymore. The technologies might be current, but the ideas behind Google Music are tired. An a la carte music store? A storage locker? MP3 lending? Guh. These concepts are all old. More to the point, they're DONE. If, as a company, you're going to improve on an existing product, well, that's awesome. Thank you. But if you give us more of the same shit we've already had for years, we'd kindly ask you to leave Thunderdome. In a body bag.
Meanwhile, iCloud, which offers much of the same functionality as Google Music's cloud storage, gets glowing write-ups, from the same publication the above blockquote was taken from, like these:
For some of us, iCloud means we're never buying another computer, and for the rest of us, iCloud will be the end of computing as we have always known it... iCloud transforms our machines into little more than a variety of screens we'll use to peek at data, in much the same way we use screens to peek in at TV shows. There's nothing to learn, and nothing to manage. iCloud makes your computer and its file system completely unnecessary.
But because Google Music had the audacity to launch without, well, without being a complete iTunes killer, apparently, it isn't that good, even though the service, by all accounts, works rather well.
Google Music offers free songs as well as those you can purchase, and after Josh downloaded "Bombs Over Baghdad," you find the files are in the MP3 format, with 320 KBS playback rate. Oh, look, no proprietary software restrictions here, unless, of course, MP3s are no longer a universally supported file, which they are.
Of the more honest critiques I've read, Danny Sullivan's comes to mind, but that's because he finds the entire sharing process to be confusing. As far as accessing a Google Music file on your Android device and the confusion involved, I can't speak to that, but Josh isn't having much of a problem accessing these files on his workstation. One of Sullivan's main complaints has to do with sharing music that was purchased outside of the Android Market:
I was fairly annoyed when I realized that songs already in my library, that hadn’t been purchased through Android Market, couldn’t be shared. There’s no good reason for this. All Google Music needs to do is match up songs to their pages in Android Market, and it could be done.
My counterpoint to that is, is song sharing that important of a feature? Does everyone in social network need to know you bought Rhinna's new song? Don't get me wrong, it's fun turning others on to new artists and/or songs they haven't heard before, but then again, it's not the most crucial aspect of acquiring new music, at least to this writer.
With all of this in mind, is the criticism concerning Google Music a little overblown, thanks to the expectation level or is it right on the money?