updated 02:38 pm EST, Tue December 18, 2012
Adds free 20,000 track storage following European launch
Google has expanded its Google Music offering in the US to include a scan and match feature. Added to the service when it was launched in Europe, the US version of the service will now scan through an existing music collection stored on a computer, and add matching tracks to the digital locker for streaming to other devices.
If a scanned track doesn't have a Google Music counterpart, it will still be uploaded and stored as before, with Google allowing up to 20,000 songs to be held on their servers. Music can be streamed back to devices at up to 320kbps, while music downloaded from the locker will closely match the bit-rate of the original file.
The scan-and-match feature could be a massive advantage to Google's music-based service, allowing Android smartphone owners to carry their music collection without using up precious storage space. Amazon and Apple both offer similar services that can hold music collections, though at a cost. Amazon does offer a free version, but it is capped at 250 tracks, forcing users to pay $25 per year to store up to 250.000 tracks. Apple's offering, at a similar cost to Amazon, can store up to 25,000 non-iTunes songs plus any songs the user purchased from iTunes.