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?