Google rolled out a new scan-and-match feature for Google Music, the search giant’s cloud-based music store and storage service, to the US today. The feature, which was been available in Europe for a while now, will scan a user’s music collection on their computer, and quickly rebuild it in the cloud for cross-device streaming. It’s a lot like iTunes Match actually, except Google isn’t charging for it…

Unlike Apple or Amazon, who both charge about $25 per year for their respective music services, Google is offering its new scan-and-match feature for free. You can upload up to 20,000 songs, and there are no storage limits. Google says it will stream your music back to you at up to 320 kbps, but unlike iTunes Match, you will only be able to re-download your music at a similar bitrate to your original.

Here’s the official announcement from the Google Play Google+ page:

“Traveling this season and want to make sure your music goes with you? Add up to 20,000 songs from your music collection to Google Play and stream it to your Android devices and your computer, anywhere you go.

Our new music matching feature gets your songs into your online music library on Google Play much faster. We’ll scan your collection and quickly rebuild it in the cloud – all for free. And we’ll stream your music back to you at up to 320 kbps.”

Google launched its Google Music service on May 10, 2011 at its I/O developer conference, in the form of Music Beta. Songs on the service are priced between $0.69 and $1.29, and can be played back on the Google Play website or on any Android device. And if you’re on an iPhone or iPad, there’s a Google Music web app available, as well as multiple third-party apps in the App Store, like gMusic.

Apple, for its part, hasn’t quite seen the success with iTunes Match that it was initially hoping. Since its delayed launch last year, the service has seemingly been marred with outages and other issues. It has managed, though, to roll iTunes Match out to a number of new countries in recent months, and there’s a rumor going around that it’s looking to supplement it with a streaming radio service.

What do you think, is this new scan-and-match feature reason enough to give Google Music a shot?

  • What Google Music needs is a duplication checker. Google Music seems to create duplicates randomly with no way to fix it other than one by one. It’s a nightmare.

  • Siv

    Google: 1
    Apple: 0

    • Alex

      Google: 0
      Apple: 1
      iTunes Match lets you RE-DOWNLOAD all your music at the 320k matched codec instead of your crappier 128k or whatever low codec you encoded your music at. Google doesn’t allow that. With Apple, I can basically re-convert my entire illegally download library into a legal library for $24. Match that bitch!

      • 100% correct! I also hate that Google won’t upload my .m4a files, which is almost all of my 25,000 song collection. I figure I didn’t pay for most of my music so this way I at least can listen to it in a higher bitrate.

      • Google’s service is free, Apple’s in not. Your argument is invalid.

      • Siv

        Errr…perhaps you should do some research. Read this:

        Google Music offers 320kbps, and furthermore, Apple only offers 256kbps. So you are wrong on both counts.

        Congrats, you’ve just proved my point that Apple fanboys are as stupid as they are arrogant.

      • Alex

        Seems I’m only wrong on 1 count jerk-off. You can re-download all your music at 256k then, which you can’t do with Google Music. You’ve just proved my point that Google fangirls are as stupid as they are ignorant, can’t count either.

  • waleed LA

    One day we will see that Apple is owned by Google

    • They will just fuse

    • Siv

      I would love to see this happen. Imagine an iOS powered Nexus 4, or an Android powered iPhone 5 🙂

  • disqusted

    At least everyone is so open and realistic about their music habits so far. Maybe a bit *too* unapologetically so; but nothing is worse than the self-righteous “I paid for every single one of my 25,000+ music tracks! Fuckin’ pirates!”— so, at $1 a piece, you’ve spent over $25,000 on mp3’s/aac’s? Pardon me, sir, but you are completely full of shit. Nobody has ever spent $25,000 on digital music, and if you have, then you have entirely too much money and it’s best that you give some of that to us. I mean, take the 5th amendment to town; not necessary to incriminate yourself— just don’t preach your bullshit 100% “too legit to quit” garbage to everyone. I’m not condoning piracy, just saying… I won’t be the first to cast THAT stone around… If you can truly say you have never downloaded a “free” album or song, congrats. You’re the only one on the planet. Jesus has a special place for you on his lap.

    I mean, my 80 year old grandmother has some suspect shit on her computer, even. She’s the one the RIAA tried to subpoena and take down, LOL.