Audiogalaxy – My God, It’s Full Of Stars
Whilst spending this week looking for media streaming apps for my HTC Desire I was quite surprised to come across Audiogalaxy. Originally, back in 2001 Audiogalaxy was a website that attracted file sharers who were abandoning Napster at the time. Eventually it’s main file sharing functions were shut down and users drifted away to get their content elsewhere. In 2010 Audiogalaxy relaunched as a service that allows you to stream your DRM-free music stored on your home computer to your phone from anywhere using 3G, EDGE, or WiFi, and all for free. Imagine having tonnes of music right there on your handset ready to stream with no limit set by storage space, I’m happy to say Audiogalaxy (which is currently in beta) achieves what it promises.
First, you need to register at www.audiogalaxy.com so you can download Auidogalaxy for the PC or MAC, wherever you install this is where your tunes will be streamed from. This is a painless step although once installed Audiogalaxy immediately runs off searching for your stored music which I’d rather wish it didn’t do. I didn’t want all my music online straight away, I wanted to pick certain folders first. You can eventually tell Audiogalaxy what folders to focus on but not before the program has sniffed out a bunch of tracks and added them to your library. It’s not a negative aspect and it’s something that sorts itself out once you’ve specified your music folders, it’s just annoying that you’re already having to reign the program back under control before you even get started. Once that’s done, you just download the app to your handset, log in and stream away.
The menu screens are fairly basic but they get the job done, you can look at your playlists, browse via artist or album, use the search function and see what’s currently playing. Slightly annoyingly, albums are only sorted by title name whereas some people may like them grouped or sorted by artist name, it’s not a massive problem though. The search function is great, whatever you enter is cross-referenced with song, artist and albums titles, results pop up quick and are presented in a tidy list with album artwork. In all lists of tracks you can long click a song and choose whether to listen now or add to the queue. From here it would be nice to have a way to go straight to the now playing screen but instead you have to go back to the main menu in order to do that. This doesn’t ruin the experience but it’s a small niggle all the same.
Quite simply, everything works very well, especially on wi-fi. Even on a 3G signal (of average strength) I streamed music for over 20 minutes with only two stutters to allow the app time to buffer more music. Tracks load up quickly, the ‘now playing’ screen shows artwork if available and whilst not being flashy, it does everything you need it to do. From here you can also easily save the current queue of music to a new playlist, ideal for those ‘on-the-fly’ playlist creations.
Audiogalaxy is totally lacking in options, pressing the menu key only gives you a choice of refreshing the screen or logging out. An option to increase the buffer would be handy (although to be fair Audiogalaxy seems to do an ok job of managing this itself), and some kind of EQ would be great. I imagine a number of users will also lament the lack of a widget or Last.FM scrobbling which I can understand. Still, considering that this app is still only in Beta these are hopefully features that will appear in further updates. Right now I am just glad this app works as well as it does.