It had to happen sooner or later. Another company has any sort of technological success so Google either sets up in competition against them or simply swallows them whole.
In this case, it is the former option. Music-providing apps beware, now you have Google Play Music to contend with.
Like Spotify there’s a free or paid option. Unlike Spotify, if you’re on the free version you can’t listen to music that you haven’t bought or put on your phone yourself.
Play Music still manages your music library, synching it between devices and your computer. You can listen to music straight out of the app, and if you get sick of your own stuff you can use it to buy new music from the Google Play store.
You can sort your music by album, artist, genre, or make your own playlists – in this way the free version is maybe more like Google’s iTunes rather than its Spotify.
As far as just a player for the music on my device goes, I thought it worked pretty well, and it lets you do things like add to a playlist or change what’s next in the queue without having to stop listening to what’s playing. It all seems to work pretty well, really, at least the bits I got to try out.
If you sign up for the ‘All Access’ option ($12.99 a month) you get – well, you get all the access. Then it’s much more of a Spotify service, where you can stream ridiculous amounts of music and get suggestions based on your listening habits – so there’s a little bit of Pandora thrown in there too.
It might just be me, but bits of the interface seem to look a little fuzzy. I’m thinking specifically about the play/pause/skip controls. And before you ask yes, my eyes are fine, and so is my screen.
This isn’t problematic or anything, but it stands out from a company like Google who work so hard to present themselves with an Apple-like style.
So the question has to be asked – what reasons are there to choose Google Play Music over the already established Spotify?
Well, there’s the way it manages your own (saved to your device) music, which I found more amenable than the standard music player on my phone (a Samsung Galaxy, for the record).
Also, there’s the ever increasing hold Google has over all aspects of your digital life – we’re steadily getting closer to the point where you simply have one account for everything, with Google not just managing your music, email and YouTube habits, but also your banking and medication.
If you struggle to remember passwords you might look at this as a positive future. If you’re a conspiracy theory crank, you probably see it as the first step of Skynet. I guess it’s up to you.
Personally, I feel like Spotify gives more to those not willing to pay money.
Maybe Google slightly outshines them when it comes to the paid service, because I love convenience and embrace our rush towards the looming singularity.