Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Why You Should Not Trust Google Music

Google Music looks to be a reasonably new service where Google will store up to 20,000 songs of your music collection (and provide a market for you to buy more), streaming it to wherever you are over the web or phone. This sounds pretty neat, and for some purposes it might be nice. I'm hesitant to embrace it though, for a few reasons:

  • A fair percentage of my music is stuff I did not buy. I am not ashamed of this. I do not believe in intellectual property.
  • Another fair percentage of my music is stuff I did buy but cannot still prove I bought. Especially recently, I've been throwing out CDs after ripping them to OGGs, partly because they take up space (and OGGs do not).
  • Another fair percentage of my music is stuff I did buy, but then reacquired through pirate sources, either because the CD became damaged or for other reasons
  • I am worried that the companies involved might try to press IP claims to me, which is probably easier if they have easy access to my music collection
  • I am worried that if I use this for music on my Android, Google will stick audio adverts or songs they think I should like into my audio stream. Right now they don't do this, because my Android has the music files physically on the phone. Other companies, like Twitter, already sell to some companies the friending of many unwilling people (ad-block software I have on Firefox replaces these with blank areas where those ad-tweets would be)
  • Bandwidth is often a concern. I don't want my music to stop because I wander into a poor-connectivity area, and I don't want my laptop to be all-elbows on any network it uses
  • Google has a better history of providing decent API support for Android than it does for its software services. Right now, if I really need to I can write Android apps that deal with "on-disk" data on my phone. I can't trust that I'll have the same access to software services like this (and even if they provide it, it might not be free)
Google Music might make sense for others, but it probably doesn't make sense to me (it might make a reasonable alternative to Amazon's music store, which is also reasonably Linux-friendly). Some of these same concerns apply for other Google services which would compete with software you run on your computer (although the collaborative features in Google Docs are compelling for some purposes).

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