After a long wait, iOS has at last received the Google Play Music app. The Radio and All Access service was first announced in the Google IO event last May. Though it was declared that Apple devices will receive the service within a few weeks, Google failed to keep that promise. Afterwards, rumor spread out that it will be released on October. However, Google at last managed to make the service available for iOS. Users will find out that Google’s ecosystem of music has some basic differences with Apple’s system. Being focused on cloud, Google’s service could be compared with the likes of Amazon and Spotify. The web interface of the service is solid and easily accessible through PCs and Macs. But it is yet to achieve the responsiveness of Apple, specifically with locally stored music.
As Google’s service is based on cloud, it is possible to move from one device to another without much effort. Google has provided unlimited browser and device access for the users. Various services include storing 20,000 songs on the cloud, creating playlists, sharing the songs and lists with friends, listening to music anywhere from any device etc. While all of these are free, you will get additional features when you become a premium subscriber of the service. For $9.99 per month, you can access songs from most of the major artists, along with some notable minor ones. Like the premium service of Spotify, you can download the songs if you want to save carrier charges.
What’s more, if you are running low on your monthly quota or do not have enough data left, Google has three different quality levels for you. The premium subscription also grants you access to the Radio, which is way different then the iTunes one. While Apple’s radio is free with advertisements, Google haven’t put any advertisements in its radio. The radio app will allow you to see the upcoming music tracks and re-arrange them according to your taste. You can skip unlimited number of tracks and delete any unwanted song from the list. The real gem of the service lies in music discovery. The smart algorithms of Google know what you may like and they will suggest you some tracks accordingly. They will even add some of your uploaded tracks into the Radio.
Live Syncing with Other Devices
Real-time syncing is another excellent feature of Google Play Music. It can sync across multiple platform simultaneously. Therefore, it is possible to carry all your favorite music with you whenever you go. The iOS app plays music over Chromecast, AirPlay and Bluetooth. On a good connection, music plays almost instantly. The appearance is a mix of Google’s play music store, Google’s iOS UI and Apple’s iOS UI. While the design works as expected, you should not expect anything fancy. Due to Apple’s restrictive file system, it is not possible to play Google Play’s music on iTunes or vice versa. Google’s music service is officially available in 21 countries. Google stated that they are working on an iPad version of the app, better algorithms, I’m feeling lucky and other features.
Another distinctive feature of the app is its Explore tab. The tab includes both recommended tracks and human created playlists. Google Play Music product manager, Brandon Bilinski, thinks the users will need both of these. He says that the team of developers has created the service in order to encourage the users to explore new categories and genres of music. He claims the app lists about 200 genres and sub-genres. Talking about Radio, he said the team has made the major works, with minor customizing aspects being left for the users.
Why So Late?
Nonetheless, analysts question Google’s unexpected delay when the iOS app is almost similar to the Android one. The major issue was to manage Apple’s policy of 30 percent commission of all in-app sales. At the end, Google did not seek any measure to negotiate this issue. Therefore, iOS users can’t buy music directly, while it is possible in Android. Apple users will also miss the option of subscribing to All Access. However, Bilinski claimed that the actual reason of the delay was to bring the app to the expected polish level. The polishing process included integrating the service to Chromecast and managing the streaming issue.
Finally, the developers have produced an app capable of streaming music at 320 kbps, connecting to speakers and others. They are currently working to improve the recommendation algorithm. For instance, they expect the algorithm to recommend fast-paced tracks during morning workout and soft ones during later parts of the day. If they can produce such a system, which can recommend music based on time and mode, that will be an interesting service. However, those who have already placed their trust on Google for their music libraries, the iOS inauguration of Google Play Music will be a great event.