Briefly before Apple announced their iCloud media service, Google released Google Music to public beta. The service was aimed at making your online music library available to you anywhere you go and without having to take up gigabytes of local storage space with your music files. At the time however, Google Music, was not easy to use on iOS devices as no native application was available in Apple’s App store.
Accessing Music.Google.Com from Safari on the iPhone or iPad was possible but navigating to and playing your music was difficult. That has all changed recently as Google as pushed a mobile friendly version of their web based music application.
The New Google Music
Google has not yet released a native iOS application but they have improved Google Music on non-Android devices. If you navigate to http://music.google.com on your iPhone or iPad you’ll be presented with a user friendly interface that was designed for mobile devices. This update, while not as polished as a native iOS application, allows you to find and access your music that you’ve pushed to Google’s servers.
After loving into your Google Account at music.google.com your iPhone or iPad will request additional storage space for the streaming content that will be delivered to your device from Google. This is typically just 25mb of space and is safe for approval. After you approve of the additional space you’ll see Google Music begin to initialize your music library.
This process is quick and after your library finishes initializing you’ll be able to view the music files you’ve stored on Google’s servers. The new interface is much easier to use than the previous interface and you scroll up and down your list of songs, albums, and artists.
To switch views between songs, albums, and artists slide left or right on that menu area. Selecting a specific album will load a page that will display all the songs available to you in that album.
Tap a song to start playing the music on your iOS device. A control screen will load to allow you to select between repeating then song, skipping forward or backwards, or enabling song shuffle. The Album artwork will also be displayed.
Searching Your Music
Its no secret that Google does one thing better than anyone else and that is Search. Google Music on iOS via Safari includes the ability for you to search your music library on almost every screen. Tap the magnifying glass to bring up a search box. As you type in the name of an artist, song, or album, the results will appear below your search efforts. Tap the result you were searching for to jump to that song, album, or artist.
What’s This Mean for a Native App?
Google and Apple are in the middle of a serious war with mobile devices. The Android platform and iPhone are competing in many ways and one way that Google often seems to try and attract customers to their Android devices is through the applications they develop that are only available on their platform. These include Google Chat, Google Navigation, and at this time Google Music.
My prediction is that like Google Voice, Google Music will eventually be a native application on iOS devices. As Apple will soon release iOS 5 and complete integration of iCloud it will be clear that Google will not be able to compete on the iOS platform with music services if they do not include a native music application. I currently use both iCloud and Google Music and see benefits of having them both available for easy access to your media. I’d love it iTunes eventually included a feature where I could stream all my music from iCloud and not have to store any of it locally since it is taking up a lot of valuable hard drive space.
What do you think? Will Google develop a native music application for iOS devices?