The crowd erupted in applause as the curtains were finally pulled back on the year-long tease that was the new and improved Google Music. Functional on everything with a browser, as well as the tablet and smartphone. Finally! A real, native music solution for Android users, and an amazing cloud layer on top of that to make sure you’ve always got access to your tunes.
Like other Google apps for Android, however, the app is closed source, and there are currently no API’s to allow developers with existing music apps to bring Google Music into apps that are already being used by millions of Android users. The question that weighs heavy on my mind now is will Google Music be the massively successful utility Android needs, or will it be just another app?
My biggest reason for suspicion is Google Voice. I love Google Voice. It’s something I am now unable to use a phone without. As time passed, I hoped that Google would do the right thing and open the service up to function with the now hundreds of apps within the Android Market that collectively do some REALLY cool things with SMS. Services like Vlingo, Handcent, and more are completely unusable for me since Google Voice is my primary number. Despite the many updates, API’s don’t exist for app developers to utilize this service.
Out of the box, Google Music is no different. Despite the amazing features, I’d love to see integration with apps I already use, like my playlist data shared with apps like Slacker Radio to build a better radio station, or to give me lyrics to the songs I want to hear through TuneWiki. What about Google Music’s ability to function with my Sonos multi-room music system? At the moment, this won’t happen, and there’s little indication that things will change.
During the Fireside Chat with the Android team at Google I/O, a music developer posed a question to the panel that made me write this piece to begin with. “Should I just quit now, since everyone is going to use Google Music?”
Ultimately it will be up to Google to make their apps interface better with their own developers. Google loves data, but they don’t seem overly keen on sharing it. Until this changes, I’m probably going to steer clear of Google Music for now.