Like other members of the Ausdroid team, and like many of you – our readers – I guess it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I’m a bit of an Android fan. It also shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that I’m quite heavily invested in the Google ecosystem, including Gmail, Drive, YouTube, Google Maps, Keep Notes, Books, and Google Movies.
While a lot of Google’s products are really good and work well together, featuring an integrated and refined strategy, there are two offerings from Google that really aren’t that great and just don’t reach their potential.
Yes, I’m talking about messaging apps and music.
Let’s take a look at the options and where things have gone down since Google Play Music made its humble appearance.
Google Play Music
Looks like it was a lifetime ago, but we’ve only had Google Play Music for 8 years now, when it was first announced in 2011. There has been significant development over the years. , improved access to different streams and more recently the addition of music videos in the app.
Google Play Music has become one of the go-to music apps for Android, alongside popular alternatives like Spotify and (yes, I know) Apple Music.
Like many, I have spent a lot of time listening to music on Google Play Music. I have a bunch of playlists that I love and Google knows my listening habits, so the “I’m feeling lucky” radio is really not far from what I would actively choose to listen to.
Many users have invested equally in the platform, âaddingâ albums to their library to listen to their favorites, create great playlists and discover new music. Play Music does a reasonable job of all of these tasks, but compared to some alternatives, it might not be particularly pretty or easy to navigate compared to the competition.
On top of that, Play Music lacks some of the official desktop playback options available on competing products. Spotify? It has a great desktop application. Apple Music? Well he did. Play music? Well, it has a web app, and while it works pretty well, it’s still a web app. If you want a proper desktop app, there are some really good third-party options available like Radiant Player and Play Music Desktop Player, but why should you rely on third parties to provide functionality for a paid service?
Google wants us to live in the cloud, so I guess that makes sense.
We’ve already found reports that YouTube Music will become the default music player on Android, but the question mark over how long Play Music will last, especially when phased out, hangs over many heads. users. It’s very interesting for me to notice that over the past couple of weeks when searching for individual songs, YouTube Music starts to automatically search, but not consistently.
As much as there is a lot to love about the YouTube Music interface – browsing songs forward and backward is great, the user interface is a bit more modern – there are a lot of things that just don’t seem finished.
YouTube Music has been around for a little over a year since it first became available to the general public. There have been developments in this area as well, including the recent addition of seamless switching between audio-only streams and video streams.
My issues with YouTube Music are about usability and capabilities at the moment. I have been using it intermittently for a while now and – quite frankly – think it is far from finished and ready for daily use by “average users”. Building playlists is clunky, finding albums to add to your library is also a bit clunky, and there’s another major barrier to adoption as well.
Considering that it’s supposed to replace Google’s Play Music at some point, there are remarkably few ways to actually migrate. For example, there’s no way to keep your Play Music playlists in YouTube Music, or to view your collection of albums, songs, and more that you’ve added to your own library (from Play Store or music you downloaded yourself).
Your collection, playlists and preferences will be preserved when migrating to YouTube music for a soft landing.
– t. Jay Fowler (@tjayfowler) May 17, 2018
It is likely that Google will develop a flyway in the near future to meet this need. As it stands, this inability to migrate is a hindrance to my migration as a permanent solution and so would many others. I’ve told Chris about it, and while he likes YouTube Music a lot, it’s not yet his âgo toâ – it’s still a bit too much missing.
Even though I was ready to rebuild my playlists on YouTube Music, I’m really not in love with their playlist maker. It’s similar to Google Play Music in that you can add songs to the playlist, but it’s just not intuitive. I also find that often when adding (or attempting to add) songs to a playlist, the playlists are not visible.
It is just not a good experience for the users.
I’m struggling to find a great feature that will draw users to YouTube Music, whether as a new user or from other platforms. It is somewhat missing a remarkable feature that will grab the attention of users and bring them to the platform. An example of this is the video clips that you can watch in the app.
Although I’m a huge fan of watching video clips with music, I usually don’t want to do this on my phone while I’m on the go. I feel like YouTube Music is more focused on the video side of playing than streaming music and for me that’s an oversight when you replace an existing app, taking on the other big players in the streaming game. musical.
Usually I only watch the video when I’m sitting at my desk and it’s not on my phone. So for myself and most of the people I’ve spoken to, YouTube Music’s main selling point is not hit the mark. The old YouTube does the job for me here and I would risk it for a lot of users.
There is nothing wrong with having video clips in the app, and in fact, they are sometimes quite good to watch (especially those live performances). However, to differentiate itself from the YouTube app (which is entirely video-based), maybe videos in YouTube Music shouldn’t be enabled by default? Especially when you’re on the go (i.e. on mobile data).
YouTube Music is functional, don’t get me wrong, but it also lacks components. I’d like to see a desktop installer app for YouTube Music that lets you control playback through your media controls. Also provides a mini player so you can dock the player, not using “too much” of your screen but still being able to watch videos while doing other tasks.
Reviews aside, YouTube Music offers a free tier. Apparently aimed at users who consume little or are not afraid of ads, it is a way to compete with Spotify and – if marketed well – could attract some customers to the platform.
Given the recent push to get more users to the YouTube Music course with student discounts, it looks like the way forward is narrowing. So much so that I no longer wonder which service Google wants new users to sign up for.
How long before the parallel tracks of Google Play Music and YouTube Music finally meet, anyone can guess, but it seems more inevitable now. I just honestly hope Google finishes and tweaks YouTube Music before it terminates Google Play Music.
Google Play Music might not be perfect, but it’s very functional, and more so than YouTube Music at the moment.
Is it time to head to Spotify?
The obvious path here is to head to Spotify as a solution. It’s been about 11 years since Spotify introduced its monthly fee for all the songs you can consume. Spotify is available everywhere and I mean all over.
Smart speakers, PC, Mac, Linux, Web, Android, iOS – they’re all there. Well-designed and useful interfaces for just about any connected technology you can imagine.
This broad compatibility combined with the length of service in space means that Spotify is a powerhouse in space. Spotify’s apps are well-polished, easy to use, and easy to navigate, which you’d expect. The feature (for premium users) also includes the ability to continue listening to previous streams when you change devices.
Google’s Play Music and YouTube Music don’t offer any of these.
Spotify is currently the leader in music and, thanks to its brand loyalty, Apple Music also has a strong footprint in streaming media. Google is holding up, fair, but the market share they hold is behind the other players. Maybe Google was a little late for the party or maybe the integration being less universal is playing a role.
Considering my personal investment in the platforms and the fact that I am seriously considering other optionsâ¦ I cannot be alone.
Where from here?
Google must commit to YouTube Music and absolutely nail it. Universal functionality, the wide range of brackets available, ease of use, stability and beauty are all must-have functions for the future. In short, take a look at all that Spotify has done well and bring those features to YouTube Music.
Users who have been using Google Play Music for a while will be hesitant to move on without their downloaded collections and playlists. These must be delivered as promised and soon.
I can absolutely see the potential of YouTube Music, but until a number of areas are finalized and cleared up, I just cannot use the platform for everyday use.
And you? Are you loyal to Google Play Music at the moment? Are you a rusty user on Spotify? Which platform do you think will win here?