Google Music Beta crosses the aisle, launches for iOS via web app (hands-on)

We know, we know -- you're anxiously awaiting the public launch of iTunes Match, but what if you're one of those people? You know, the crowd that dips their toes into both Google and Apple offerings. It's clearly not as blasphemous as you may have been led to believe, as the fine folks in Google's mobile department have just produced an iOS-specific web app for Google Music Beta. For those who've forgotten, Music Beta was launched a few months back at Google I/O, giving audio archivists the chance to upload 20,000 of their favorite jams into the cloud; now, as you might imagine, it ain't just Android users tapping into those libraries. Predictably, the Music Beta iOS web app enables iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users to login to their accounts and stream at will, and if you're down to give it a go, the download link is just below -- you'll need to have been accepted previously into the beta, though.

We gave it a quick whirl on the iPad here at Engadget HQ, and it works beautifully. As you'd expect, the actual graphical elements are a bit lacking compared to the Android app, but all of the core functionality is there. Swiping left / right cruises through Artists, Albums, Songs, Playlists and Genres, and the track currently playing remains in a top bar regardless of what main window you're in. The search function works as advertised, and on a basic cable connection our results populated within two seconds of getting the third letter down. All in all, it's a fairly nice spread (see for yourself in the gallery below), but not quite as nice as we're envisioning a dedicated app to be. Still holding out for one? Heh... we never said Google was that generous.