I received my Google Music Beta invite late Monday afternoon. After downloading the Music Manager I started to up load my music. My music is stored on an external drive to upload it into the music player I simply hit Other and then added the folder. It took between 15 and 16 hours to upload 1,836 songs. Any song that has DRM on it (i.e. purchased in the iTunes store) or in a non supported format was skipped. Google was able to upload the meta-data for most of the songs and albums. It had the most trouble with compilation CDs or CDs that were parts of a series. For example I have the Blues Master Series which consisted of 18 CDs which I had ripped on to my external drive. The Google player matched the meta data on some of the songs and not on others. I have noticed that so far though it hasn’t matched anything incorrectly, if it’s not sure it doesn’t guess. I also noticed that songs from the same album would get slightly different metadata and therefore create two or more separate albums folders within Google Music. You can correct or add information by clicking on the arrow in the lower right hand corner of the album. Then click on edit album or song information and fill in the information. However I haven’t figured out a way to merge folders yet. If you want to add album art you have to add it from your computer. I wish you could add an image by url, it would make it a lot easier. Under the same arrow, you can play a song, add a song to a playlist and create an instant playlist. You can also add a song to a playlist by dragging the song to the playlist. Another way to create a instant playlist from a song you can also thumbs up a song and then clicking on the plus button next to the instant mix.
It does work on the iPad through Safari awkwardly. You have to click on the triangle next to the song, album or playlist then click on play, then at the bottom of the screen click on the play button twice and then wait and after awhile the music will start to play. At first I kept pushing the play button thinking it wasn’t working and the song would start and stop however I soon figured out there is a delay between when you push a button and it reacts. If you use it within Safari it will continue to play in the background if you open another application. However it doesn’t go to the next song until you go back to the Safari browser. The Google Music player also works in the Mercury Browser but not in the background. For some reason the player worked fine within the Mercury browser at Borders but would not work within Safari at Borders, the web page would come up, but none of the songs would appear. I wonder if anyone else had a similar problem? I suspect that the problem maybe with the Border’s wifi and not the Google Player. I haven’t figured out a way to fast forward or rewind through a song on the iPad. Also the on screen volume button doesn’t work, you have to use the volume rocker on the iPad.
All in all I think the Google Music player is a good start, but it does need some work. First it needs to do a better job at adding meta data so that songs from the same album don’t end up in multiple album folders. Second there needs to be away to add album art directly from a URL rather then uploading a file. Also right now there is no way of sharing what song you are playing on Twitter or Facebook or even Google Buzz from the Google music. The only way to rewind or fast forward a song is by scrolling with a mouse, there needs to be a keyboard shortcut. I was actually surprised that it worked at all on the iPad. I would like to see them shorten the delay from when you push the play button in Safari on the iPad and when it starts playing. Also there needs to be a way to go to the next song automatically while running in the background. I already have the Amazon player and because I live in a Mac world I will also be trying the iCloud at that time it comes out. I hope to compare them all at that time.