Google Music "free" Review: turning Apple Music's tide

Google ads advertisement-supported "free" streaming radio stations to their Google Music service. This push creates more of a Pandora sort of model to their already in-service subscription-based model than it does an Apple battler, but the timing is right on. Just as Apple summons more press with a response to Taylor Swift's request for cash, Google aims to cut in with a release of a whole new way to interject with a service that doesn't cost users anything – any cash, that is to say.

For users that aren't already subscribed to Google Music, this new model exists in the already-functional streaming Music app in every Android device on the planet. Inside, users are able to access the music they've uploaded at home to their entirely free Google Music cloud streaming service. That's the same as it always has been. The new part is in searches for artists whose music the users have none of.

Instead of turning up no results, or leading users to a place where they're able to purchase music from Google on a track-by-track basis, this new model presents a number of Radio Stations.

These radio stations are all internet-based, of course, and play a single track of music by the user's artist of choice before moving on to related tunes.

When you start a radio station, you might not see an advertisement. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don't.

When you're in a web browser, you might see a YouTube ad. The first ad we saw was the video you're about see here – an ad for the service we were already using. Very strange!

Otherwise you're just dealing with mobile ads – tiny things. Nothing too interruptive. Nothing we'd not expect from a service we're not having to pay cash for.

This is very, very similar to what Pandora has been offering for free for several years. Google's model is much more colorful – aesthetically – and professes to be constructed by real DJs and songsmiths around the world.

Google also has an ecosystem in place – everyone with an Android device already has the app. It's simple.

It is enough to stem the tide of users that'll be trying out Apple Music when it's released for iOS and Android devices later this year?

It all depends on how well this system by Google Music wraps users in and converts them to paying customers, really.