As Apple Music’s launch is getting near on 30th June, Google is getting more aggressive in trying to attract as many users to it’s Google Music service as possible.
A few days back, Google announced it is adding a new feature free to its Google Play Music service. This feature offers non-subscribers with what Google describes as an ad-supported Pandora-like-radio functionality having curated stations. This new radio streaming feature in Google Play Music is built on Songza, a music streaming service that was acquired by Google roughly a year ago. Quite similar to Apple’s approach towards Apple Music, Google says the “curated” playlist are created by “music experts”:
“Our team of music experts, including the folks who created Songza, crafts each station song by song so you don’t have to. If you’re looking for something specific, you can browse our curated stations by genre, mood, decade or activity, or you can search for your favorite artist, album or song to instantly create a station of similar music.”
According to Google, music experts have assembled every curated playlist from top to bottom. Here, Google has applied the same philosophy that Jimmy Lovine and Apple Music have talked about lately: “Humans over algorithms.” You pick a mood, genre, year, or any activity-based playlist, and what you will be hearing will be a playlist made by an actual human. Google does, however, use algorithms for some tasks such as if you start a new radio station based on a specific artist or song, that’s when control gets in hands of a computer.
The free service doesn’t have all the features that premium subscribers get, and it has some restraints too. Free users cannot skip more than six tracks in an hour. They can pause tracks, but there’s no option available for them to rewind the track, scrub through songs, or check what’s next in the playlist. Premium subscribers, on the other hand, have full control over playlists and can manipulate, edit, rename, and save them for offline playback.
This new feature is out now and can be accessed over the web. An update to Android and iOS apps for Google Play Music is in the pipeline. Apple Music hits the market at the end of this month for $9.99/month or $14.99/month for families after a three month free trial. Let’s the musical games begin.