The Google Music Experience on an Android Honeycomb Tablet

The Google Music service launched as in a limited beta test mode during Google I/O earlier this month. My invitation finally came through yesterday and I tested in on a Motorola Xoom tablet with Honeycomb (Android OS 3.1).

Google provides a reasonably large collection of songs from a wide variety of music categories and artists for free to get the new Google Music started. You can stream or download these songs as soon as you get access to the service.

Google Music (website)

The Google Music app that accesses the Google Music service runs on both Android smarthones (OS 2.2. or newer) and tablets. It is Honeycomb (OS 3.x) aware and makes optimal use of a tablet’s display. You can see the Coverflow (Apple term) like view in the Music app’s “New and recent” view. It is interesting to note that this Coverflow-like view is not available when browsing music by album, artists, songs, or genres. It can play songs stored locally on the tablet or stream music you have stored in Google’s cloud. This is the same way Amazon’s CloudDrive service works.

The second screenshot show a song in play. The controls at the bottom for song playback are visible while actively navigating the app while listening to music.

Google Music is missing a couple of features in the iOS (iPhone/iPad) iPad player: Sort by composer, Podcast support, Audiobooks support. Its ability to stream your own music stored in the cloud is, however, a big win and a feature not available for iOS devices.

The Google Music cloud service is listed as “free for a limited time” on the Google Music app’s Android Market product page. Storage will probably be tied to Google’s central store for Gmail, Google Docs and Picasa at some point in the future.

Google Music (Android Market)

Note: Google Music screenshots were obtained from the app running on a WiFi-only Motorola Xoom.

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