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Google Music Now Has Music Matching Like iTunes, But Free

Google Play announced via Google+ on Tuesday that it has updated its Google Music service (that's three Googles in one sentence, now four) with a scan-and-match feature. This new feature originally launched in Europe last month and finally arrives here in the United States, allowing Google users to store their music collection in the cloud without having to upload the files.

Typically Amazon and Apple will charge a yearly $25 fee to scan a user's music collection, match those songs with versions up to 320 kbps, and stream them back to the user's preferred device. However Google has waived the yearly fee and is matching up to 20,000 songs no matter their size. The catch is that any song re-downloaded from Google Play will be similar to the original file's bitrate.

"Our new music matching feature gets your songs into your online music library on Google Play much faster," Google said. "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."

To unlock Google's high-quality tracks, users must download and install Google's Music Manager client. On the surface, the app doesn't look any different than it did before. The catch now is that it compares the user's songs with its own database of songs, and automatically places the high-quality version in the Google Music account instead of uploading the file from the user's hard drive.

So how do you know what files were replaced by Google's 320 Kbps version? You don't really, or at least it's not obvious as of this writing. The only indication is by way of the uploading process if you're paying attention: the overall percentage will jump when tunes are skipped over and matched online.

Once the songs are stored in Google Music, Android device owners can simply load up the app and stream/download their music. Non-Android devices can access the library via a browser-based HTML5 app at, and through third-party apps for iOS and Windows Phone.

"If you’re a longtime Google Play Music user, you don’t need to re-upload your files to have them matched. In the next few months, we'll automatically match what we can of your existing library," the company states via the Google Play Music Manager FAQ.

Unfortunately, Google Music is still a confusing mess, especially for those who take Google's free music offer. There's no real way to separate purchased albums from free singles unless the user creates a separate playlist for each album. Music files can't be arranged in folders as they would be on a user's desktop or laptop, thus mobile access can be tedious.

But with free scan-and-match up to 20,000 songs, users can save time when uploading their music to the cloud, and Google's HTML5 and platform-specific apps makes your music accessible from anywhere there's a Wi-Fi or 3G/4G connection.


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  • Really 320 Mbps quality?

  • kawininjazx
    Google's music is bad. I don't want my music in the "cloud", I want to download it to my device.
  • blueer03
    So we are finally back to where Lala was in 2007 before Apple bought and shut it down.
  • dotaloc
    I'm surprised they weren't doing this all along. Who wants to store 200,000 versions of "Some Nights" instead of 1 (or even 5 or 10). Even if the client was md5ing all the music and only keeping unique'd allow at least everybody who downloads from any given service or anything distributed digitally to be consolidated big time.
  • dotaloc
    kawininjazxGoogle's music is bad. I don't want my music in the "cloud", I want to download it to my can. i think 5 separate downloads (although it is drm-free, so you could download once and share amongst your devices if you felt like it).

    most inconvenient thing i saw was the one file (download) at a time limitation without installing the client. probably a browser issue, though, more than a service problem.
  • bluekoala
    "Google will match those tunes with 320 Mbps versions"
    This is sad Toms. Please teach your editors about the bits and bytes.
  • becherovka
    yarmockReally 320 Mbps quality? WOW!!!!Have they fixed that because I cant see Mbps..
  • joytech22
    becherovkaHave they fixed that because I cant see Mbps..
    It's in the title.
    And Google, this is stupid release it to us in Australia.. You have the licenses but you still haven't..
  • rwpritchett
    I wish they had this back when I uploaded my library. Slow connection... took weeks to get them uploaded.

    Now, if Google would increase the ceiling from 20k I'll be very happy. 100k would be nice.
  • sliem
    They will get sued by Apple soon.