After much anticipation, Google finally released its native Google Play Music app for iOS today. The All Access and Radio service was originally announced at Google IO in May with the promise that it would be ported to iOS devices a few weeks later. Then it was rumored last month. Well, today it is really here and Google was nice enough to give us a great look at the service yesterday (video above).

Google’s music ecosystem differs greatly from Apple’s and more closely resembles Spotify or Amazon with a focus on the Cloud. On Macs and PCs you can use it through a browser with an interface that is remarkably robust for a webpage, but obviously not quite as responsive as iTunes, especially with local music.

Play millions of songs, instantly, on any device, including all the music you’ve ever bought…from anywhere.

Google’s Music is in the Cloud (mostly) so you can seamlessly move from device to device, though there is a 5 app limit (but no limit on devices with web browser access). You can upload 20,000 songs for free, create playlists and share with friends, listen to your music anywhere there is a web browser or iOS/Android device. Kind of a no-brainer…

For the $9.99/month (free for the first month trial), you not only get to enjoy your music, but you also get access to music from most of the major labels and many of the minor ones. It is very similar to Spotify’s premium service where you can also download your music locally if you want to listen on a plane, subway, or don’t want to use carrier bandwidth. Speaking of bandwidth, you can choose from 3 different quality levels when streaming if you are running out of your monthly megabytes or on a bad network.

Then, kick back and enjoy custom radio from any song, album, artist or genre — with no skip limits — and easily discover the music you’ll love next.

The $9.99 All Access also gives you access to Radio that’s very much different than Apple’s iTunes Radio (which is free w/ads). Google’s ironically doesn’t have ads and allows you to see music hours ahead in the queue and rearrange how it comes down. You can also delete music from the queue and have unlimited skips (see demo above). The real kick here is about discovery. Google’s algorithms know what people who like music like you enjoy so they throw some of that at you. They even mix in some of your uploaded or local music into Radio mixes which is a nice surprise.

As someone who lives in both Apple and Google ecosystems (and Amazon and a few others), Google Play is nice because you really don’t need to think too much about music when using it. For $9.99/month you get access to most popular tracks as they become available on the major download stores and millions and millions of old tracks.

I also like how it syncs across devices so if I go to someone’s house, I can just pull up my collection on their web browser and start listening.

As for the iOS app, it plays on Bluetooth, Chromecast and AirPlay and streams music almost instantaneously over a good connection. Appearance-wise, it is a mix between Google’s iOS UI, Apple’s iOS 7 UI and  the design language of the Android Play Music Store. It works well but isn’t going to win any design awards. Because of Apple’s siloed file system approach, you won’t be able to play iTunes music on Google’s Music app or vice versa and if you actually want to buy individual music you’ll have to open a browser because of Apple’s 30% rule.

Google Music is currently available in 21 countries and the iOS app distribution mirrors that: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States

Google told me that they were working on an iPad version of the Play Music App, the popular “I’m feeling lucky” feature, better song algorithms as well as some other surprises.

Google’s Play music is an excellent alternative/addition to Apple’s iTunes ecosystem and I highly recommend giving it a free whirl. [Free iTunes]

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32 Responses to “Google Play Music finally hits iOS with a free month of All Access and programmable radio in 21 countries”

  1. I can’t find it am I missing something?

  2. Well, i installed it on my iPhone 5, and the radio feature does not work at all. I am not sure what I’d be doing wrong here. Oh well, its already deleted. I’ll keep Spotify for my radio needs, as it seems to work about the same, but it actually works.

  3. I’ve been using Google Play Music to stream my own music for a while and it’s pretty great for that. Waiting for iTunes Radio to launch in the UK though, as the $25/£22 annual cost for ad-free streaming is a heckuva lot less than $10/month.

  4. Ok, I understand now, after visiting Google’s Play website. You don’t get the radio for free, like you do with Spotify. To see the radio, you have to sign up for the 30 day free trial, at the end of which you get charged $9.99 for another month. I believe you can upload all your own music for free though.

  5. Tom Parker says:

    This is excellent. And Chromecast support is great, too. Been waiting on this a while.

  6. riverjao says:

    FINALLY!!! Been waiting on this for a while. This is the best music app/service out there!

    • I hate to say it but for my needs, I use this a lot more (I have both iOs and Android devices and reach for it when it is music time.

      • riverjao says:

        Yep. On my Mac I use G Music via browser, use the G Music on my Nexus 7 and now I will use it on my 5S. This really does sort of close the gap for me, I now feel as if my iPhone experience is complete. I love all of its features, but All Access is the absolute best for me.

  7. Josh O'Steen says:

    although i’m a big proponent of iOS, the stock music app is seriously lacking, and imo, just not the intuitive player i expect from Apple. can’t play albums separately after iOS6, no easy way to make playlists, shuffle still after years doesn’t seem to really shuffle that well, and there’s a chasm separating iOS player from iTunes (namely the Up Next feature). the last is my biggest gripe i think. how is it that one of the most used features in iTunes hasn’t been implemented into iOS yet?!

    enter Google Music. although i pay for iTunes Match, i almost have to ditch the service and iOS player altogether simply because GM gives me more control over what’s going to play next rather than make me sit around making ridiculous playlists that i’m only going to use once, maybe twice. i could give two hoots about radio services in either platform as there are already too many options out there. my music is what i care about, and Google seems to realize this.

    Apple, get on your game and realize how much money you make in relation to music on devices!!!

  8. Paul Schram says:

    So, once again, Canada gets screwed. It’s not Google’s fault, or Apple’s for that matter. it’s our archaic governmental copyright laws. I was waiting for this too.

  9. Connor Mason says:

    Umm, it’s almost exactly like the stock Music app now. You can view all your music in the cloud and download it to your phone if you want it stored locally. The only difference is that Google lets you have ALL of your music (up to 20,000 songs) and Apple only lets you have the songs you buy on iTunes unless you buy iTunes Match

  10. I’m in Australia and it’s not in my app store yet? :(

  11. This is not a Google app. It is made by some weird dev named MinhMobile. Why is everyone saying this is a Google app?

  12. Tyson Stone says:

    The moment All Access has an iPad app I am leaving Spotify behind. I am too sick of the constant bugs and non existent customer support.