Google Music now sports a music-matching feature that might give Apple’s iTunes Match a run for its money. While Apple charges a $25 / €25 annual fee for its music matching and iCloud storage, Google maintains its own service without charging a dime.
In an announcement made Wednesday via Google Play, the Mountain View search giant revealed, “Our new music matching feature gets your songs into your online music library on Google Play much faster.”
“We’ll scan your collection and quickly rebuild it in the cloud - all for free. And we’ll stream your music back to you at up to 320 kbps,” Google said.
Sound familiar? Don’t bother looking anything up because we’ll confirm it for you. It’s Google’s version of iTunes Match, only Google offers its service for free. Granted, there’s a couple of details that might make the difference for some customers.
Apple’s paid service lets you upload 25,000 songs to iCloud and have them streamed back to you at iTunes quality (256-Kbps AAC DRM-free), regardless of the poor MP3s you have stored in your computer’s library.
While Google does mention 320 kbps streaming, the song files you’re using are the exact same ones that you uploaded, so no upgrade in sound quality with Google’s music matching. Also, you “only” get to upload 20,000 songs.
Many will undoubtedly find that the extra 5,000 slots Apple offers are not worth an annual fee (perhaps not even a smaller one).
And while the audio quality indeed matters to music aficionados, regular users will probably have no trouble streaming the same tunes they had on their hard drive, free of charge.
There’s one thing they both have in common, though. Both Google Music and iTunes Match are available in select territories only.
Google only deals with Europe and the US at the moment, whereas Apple has expanded the service beyond the EU and the US.