What is Google Play?
Google Play is a digital entertainment hub, similar to Apple's iTunes Store, where you can purchase a whole range of different media products. Previously, Google had a collection of separate services like: Google Music; Android Market, and the Google eBookstore, but the company has now placed all these together and re-branded it as Google Play. The content sections that Google currently offer are:
- Digital Music
- Apps and Games
What Does Google Play Offer the Digital Music Fan?
For digital music, you can use the service for music discovery as well as purchasing songs from Google's library. You can stream your music via an Internet browser (Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, and Microsoft Internet Explorer 7+) or use a mobile device running the appropriate app. Currently for mobile music, there are apps available for the Android operating system (2.1/2.2) and Apple devices running iOS version 4 or higher.
If you are an artist or in a band, then there's also something called Artists Hub. This is a social networking tool that can be useful, particularly if you are unsigned. It can be used as a promotional platform to showcase your musical creations and build a fan base -- and maybe attract a potential record label.
Using Google's Cloud Storage for Your Music Library
If you have built up a collection of digital music files by ripping from audio CDs, downloading from other online music services, etc., then you can also upload to your personal Google music locker (similar to iCloud). There is currently a maximum upload limit of 20, 000 files for your cloud storage space -- the service supports iTunes libraries and playlists too. The Google Music Manager software, which is compatible with Windows (XP or higher), Macintosh (Mac OS X 10.5 and higher), and Linux (Fedora, Debian, openSUSE, or Ubuntu) is used to upload songs and playlists. Once your music library is up in your cloud storage space, you can then sync content to your mobile device.
There's a handy offline mode too which can be used to sync music to your iPhone for example and listen to it without having to be connected to the Internet. This potentially saves a lot of battery power, enabling you to get more music listening time.