I've been thinking a lot recently about music on mobile devices, especially as I am due a new phone in a couple of months, and I have come to the conclusion that my phone is pretty good as an MP3 player and content management system. To be quite honest, I've not had the time nor the effort to use the other features of my iPod Touch, such as the games or music making apps, to the point where my iPod Touch has actually ran out of power and I have not seen the point in charging it back up again as I am not going to use it.
While I've already got the majority of my music in MP3 format on my computer and arranged via iTunes, I've noticed a few changes in the Google Play store over the last few months that have made me do some testing of the service. And do you know what? It's pretty damned good! Here are my five reasons why I have come to love this service.
1. You can upload up to 20,000 songs of your own library to manage, as long as it is for personal use only. The practical upshot is that after a bit of uploading and syncing your library, you don't have to end up purchasing a new copy of media that you already own, which does seem to be the way of things when it comes to a format change.
2. As a music store, it's as cheap if not cheaper than the iTunes Store. Case in point: when Daft Punk's new album came out, it was a full £9.99 on iTunes, but Google Play were offering it for just a £5 download. Unbeatable for such a long awaited and new album. The fact that the MP3s are in a non-DRM format is a no-brainer, but this is par for the course these days. While it's still relatively early days, I have no doubt that eventually the library will grow to match that of iTunes' gargantuan store.
3. It syncs my library to all my Android devices via my Google login. Quick, simple and effective, plus it doesn't ask me to constantly log in every five minutes, as it does on my iPod, as both my phone and Nexus 7 are integrated with my Google account already.
4. You can download all your web purchases to your computer in such a seamless way that you would think you were ripping a CD and putting the files straight into your iTunes library. Seriously, what seems like a very simple act is no less than a revolutionary approach for me. As a user I need very little interaction with file systems and other programs to get the required result: just download the small program and follow the straightforward instructions.
5. Best of all, you can also log in to the Play Music store via just a browser and stream your music over the internet without any kind of special software (think: iTunes). Google have truly leveraged their online might to make their service for desktop users work regardless of operating system, so now I can actually listen to my entire music library at work and not just what I can carry on mobile device storage.
In short, Google Play just works - brilliantly. The only problem I now have is that my 4th Gen iPod Touch has devalued to less than half the original purchase price, so close to £100. I don't see this as a price high enough for me to justify getting rid of it so at least I will be able to keep it for mobile music apps.
In the short term, this has also meant that I only need to bring one charger to work; a Micro USB wall charger and cable that works for my phone and my Nexus 7 - take that, non standard cables!