When I got my Windows Phone in September, I tried several streaming music services to see which one would work best for me. At the time, I had decided to stick with Spotify. It had the library. It had the apps. And I liked the social aspect.
But then I broke my Windows Phone, and I went back to Android. When I switch phone operating systems, I often want to see what is the best anything for that particular platform. So I gave Google Music (or Google Music All Access if you’re using the ridiculously long full name) another try. And you know what, it works for me now in ways it didn’t before.
Pros for Google Music
Switching over your entire steaming media library, and the playlists therein, can be a huge pain. So, Google Music had to be good for me to take the time to switch.
- Works Great With Android – Google Music is the built in default music app for Android. It’s nice having a streaming service that is just there and runs as it was intended. It’s simple, it turns on in my car automatically (most of the time). It’s just a smoother experience.
- Gives my Chromecast a Purpose – I bought a Chromecast to review for the site (heck, for $35 why not). I was less than impressed, and the thing has basically sat in a box since. But, now I can control my music with it. I plug it into the TV and can use it with the multiple sets of speakers we have connected to our home theatre. And I don’t have to be in the same room to change a song. Much cheaper than buying a fancy receiver that has Spotify built in.
- Genres! Albums! Artists! – Seriously Spotify, how hard is this? Why do I have to make playlists for these things? Google Music just lets you view your collection by artist, album, or genre. You can edit these things as well. So I can easily move Kidneythieves from the “Alternative/Indie” Google thinks they belong in, into Industrial where I think they belong.
- Recommendation Engine – Google knows information (in fact, they know all the information about all of us). Of course the Google Music recommendation engine is amazing.
Cons for Google Music
As good as it is (and good enough to switch) Google Music isn’t perfect.
- No Last.fm integration – One of my favorite “social networks” is Last.fm. It has an amazing recommendation engine, it’s fun to see what your friends listen to, and it doesn’t try to be anything else. But Google Music doesn’t natively integrate with Last.fm. You can get a Chrome plugin, but it wants to read all the data on all your tabs. Nope.
- No Desktop App – This is Google, so there’s no desktop app and there’s not likely to be one. This is kind of a pain, and cuts out smart key usage. I can see this being a major deal breaker for lots of people. For me, the biggest pain was accidentally closing the tab. Creating a Google Music application shortcut got me around this issue.
- Only Shares to Google+ – The only social sharing built in is Google+, because Google wants you to use it. I didn’t use the “share from Spotify” too much other than to send songs to friends, so it wasn’t awful. But I do wish I had an easy way to see what my friends are listening to as a way to find more music.
So far I’m happy with the switch. What would it take to make you change streaming services?