jasonphoenix Jason Phoenix: Google Music Review Pt. 2.5

7.30.2011

Google Music Review Pt. 2.5



I just wanted to say briefly that my Google Music review is still ongoing, as its been a while since the last installment.  I've been tied up having adventures and misadventures in sound and music, and I haven't been able to focus my efforts on my review.  In my defense, there's no editor but Jason Phoenix himself to keep me on track and on schedule, and he's been tied up having adventures and misadventures.

So there's the reassurance.  There's a little more I can say about the service in this installment, but you've already gotten the lion's share.  See ya at Pt. 3.





I have not forgotten about reviewing the Google Music Interface, and am working out how to shoot the video concisely. There's nothing worse than a wordy writer blathering on film to make you suddenly hate all their work, so I'd like to avoid that cliche if at all possible.  Also, I'm not sure if I should introduce myself on YouTube before I start in with a review.  I'll consult with my editor.

I have uploaded more music, and I have discovered some cracks in the pavement. As best I can tell (more research required) Google Music is organizing from the metadata in the files.  This works out well in some cases, where Album Art I did never even knew was attached has been displayed properly.  However, I now have this many Billie Holiday(s):

Its really spelled Billie Holiday.
Hmmn.  It happened to Bjork as well.  Umlaut, no umlaut.  Two L's or a Y?  Hmmn.  I will have to go and edit these, and in the future I believe I'm going to have to process my files in advance to avoid little issues like this.  Thankfully, I have a slew of MP3 metadata editors, which are going to come in handy around Pt. 4 or 5 of this review.

This is a huge issue for any discographer, let alone Google.  However, I would like to hope that the system will begin to suggest groupings & renaming as these features are already in other Google Products, and can probably be integrated.  In the meantime, I'm going to be combing through what I uploaded last to correct some 5-7 errors like this and make it easier on myself when I'm browsing.

I have mostly been using my Nexus S to access and play with Google Music.  I attempted to use my headphones, but discovered a strange tendency of people around me to ask if I wanted to listen to something else like the music on their phones with my headphones, or to begin complete conversations with me and then notice I'm wearing headphones and not responding at all.  I can blame the latter on my unruly locks of hair covering my ears, but the "hey, I notice you're listening to something, listen to this instead" I haven't sussed out.  It may be related to where I drink coffee frequently, rather than a general desire to make people with headphones listen to something else.

So instead, I've been listening in my car, using a little FM transmitter.  I am motivated to buy a new head unit with a headphone jack in because of Google Music.  I've also considered getting a pair of bluetooth headphones, so in that sense Google Music does have the potential to sell people things they didn't think they wanted.

I have noticed some minor playback issues, primarily related to the handoff between wifi and cellular connections.  I've noticed general handoff problems with other apps, so I think its part of a larger issue, possibly hardware, possibly firmware.  Google Voice completely freezes up if I start a message on cellular and connect to Wifi or vice versa, so I can completely understand a track freezing up and not playing.

Just tonight I encountered a track that cut off midway, which means I'll go back to the original file and check it for the error.  I've also noticed some random skips and jumps, but I'm forgiving them for the moment given my joy at instantly having the music I love on tap.  Much like anyone who has experienced life without indoor plumbing for an extended amount of time, I can't really complain when the hot water is all gone.

I have also noticed that the free music is rapidly growing.  There is a part of me which now regrets clicking all of the checkboxes for free music, because I see my 20K songs are dwindling.  And then part of me is really interested in all the new music I wouldn't be browsing or listening to.  Props go to Ghostly for their involvement in Google Music.  Every time I see one of their artists (that I haven't uploaded already) pop up there I grin.

On the other hand, I've noticed some embarrassment concerning the artists who pop up on my interface, both when selecting screenshots and when browsing to play something for a friend.  I could foresee odd interactions if G+ and Google Music have integrated their services.  I should test that too, shouldn't I?

So that's it for the brief update.  Please file all complaints with the editor, and not the writer, thank you.