updated 10:53 am EST, Fri November 16, 2012
Music locker capable of holding 20,000 songs at no charge
Google Music [Google Play] has gone live on Android handsets in Europe, following a previous announcement that Google Play Movies and Music would be launched on the continent from November 13th. Users in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain now have the option of buying music from the service, as well as storing tracks already in their possession in a digital locker for future streaming.
While a mobile music store adds little to the marketplace on its own, the addition of a free scan and match service, allowing up to 20,000 songs to be stored from a customer's personal music collection, is certainly unusual in Europe. While Apple and Amazon both offer scan and match services that can hold an entire music library at a cost, Amazon's free version caps out at just 250 tracks. An app called "Music Manager" can be downloaded and organize what tracks can be added to the Google Music digital locker, uploading those that are not available to play on the service. Tracks can then be played through the Play Music app on handsets or through a web interface, though Google does limit the number of downloads to twice per track, rather than streaming them.
The app was last updated on Google Play on November 12th, and according to store metrics, has received between 10 million and 50 million downloads since launch. Google Music has already been available in the US for a year.