Talking tech since 2003

I was a beta user of Spotify back in the days before it officially came overseas, and I was a paid subscriber for a time after its U.S. launch, but I just felt that I wasn’t getting my $10 worth. I have my music collection stored in Google Music, which I can access from any computer’s Web browser, my Nexus 7, and my iPhone (thanks to the fantastic gMusic app). Having my library span multiple devices without taking up storage space, and without the need for a paid subscription is a big draw, and the reason I canceled Spotify. However, I do keep the desktop app installed on my laptop. There are instances where I want to listen to a new song I might not have a copy of myself, and to be honest, I also enjoy seeing what other people are listening to.

My use of Spotify could be cut down dramatically — maybe even down to nothing — if Google implemented some social features into Google Music. So why hasn’t it?

I enjoy sharing songs with people through Spotify. Sure, you can share a track you’ve purchased from the Google Play store to your Google+ Circles. Unfortunately, the people I interact with regularly don’t use Google+. Actually, a lot of people don’t use Google+. So this feature, much like the Google Reader “Share” feature, is as useless as being given a 3 AM time slot on a public access channel. I want people to see what I’m sharing, and that’s either going to happen on Facebook or Twitter. I want prime time on a major network. Google+ offers the audience of a poorly-produced Bible lesson.

Another Spotify feature I really like is the streaming feed of songs my friends are listening to. You won’t find a similar feature in Google Music, and even if such a feature existed, it would show a fraction of what Spotify shows because that service ties into Facebook, where all of your friends hang out. Google Music would likely tie into — you guessed it — Google+.

There’s an overarching theme here, and it’s that Google Music’s social experience — much like the social experience of every other Google product — likely sucks because Google feels compelled to push Google+ every chance it gets. If Google+ doesn’t exist, who knows; maybe you’re able to log in to Facebook and see that a friend is listening to the new Alicia Keys album on Google Music. Maybe you have an inbox that connects with your Facebook messages in order to send and receive tracks. Maybe you’re given Facebook and Twitter track sharing options, as opposed to just Google+. Maybe Google sees wider adoption of its music product as a result of the increased visibility, and moves even faster to innovate with it even more.

Maybe, but we’ll never know for sure; at least, not as long as Google+ is around. You want to know why Google Music lags behind products like Spotify in the social music scene? Check out the company’s social network and I think you’ll have your answer.

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