Google Play Music arrived on iOS today, following reports from earlier this week statingthat a launch was “imminent.” The app, which will compete with Apple’s iTunes Radio and other streaming music options like Pandora, Spotify and Rdio, offers a standard service and All Access option, both of which allow you to store your music collection in the cloud, and stream songs to your device, without having to first save them locally. All Access adds a radio option, too.
Users of the standard service can add up to 20,000 of their own songs to their cloud storage, but All Access users are able to listen to unlimited songs, the company says. In addition to the mobile app, desktop users can also stream their songs from the web interface at play.google.com/music. An Android application was previously available.
Those who also choose to upgrade to the $9.99/month All Access service are able to stream songs through a radio option, as well as tracks from their own collection. Unlike some competitors’ services, All Access lets you skip as many songs as you like during radio play, while you also help to improve your personal recommendations by tapping a thumbs up/thumbs down icon.
All Access users can also explore various curated sections, including New Releases, Staff Picks and other playlists from music experts and tastemakers.
Other features, like building playlists and saving files for offline playback, are supported, too. And All Access automatically builds playlists of songs you’ve given a “thumbs up” rating, plus music you’ve added to your library recently, as well as free and purchased songs you’ve downloaded to your account.
Users can also manage their queue while listening to music, which won’t interrupt the stream. The new app allows for streaming over Bluetooth, AirPlay and Chromecast at launch, and the company is now working to bring the experience to the iPad.
The app itself has a simplified interface, where you can browse through navigational option on the side for accessing “My Library,” “Playlists,” and for All Access users, “Radio” and the “Explore” sections are available as well. Radio works as you’d expect – you can built a station based on track, artis or genre. Explore is where you’ll find the featured playlists and recommendations. There’s also search box at the top, and an arrow button to tap when you want to save a file for offline playback.
On iOS, Google Music’s paid tier will have to compete with iTunes Radio, a free option which shipped with the new iOS operating system. However, iTunes Radio runs ads, while Google Music’s All Access tier does not. That’s a distinction that matters to some users, who will want the premium experience.
To kick off the launch on iOS, Google has made the All Access service free for the first month, through a trial option for new users. If you want to pay for the full service, you’ll need to do so from the web or an Android device.
The app is live now in the iTunes App Store here.