When you have as many fingers in as many pies as Google does, you can often find yourself fighting a war on multiple fronts. As such, the announcement of this latest acquisition from the world’s 46th most valuable company has perhaps a slight air of ‘keeping up appearances’ about it.
You may have heard that Apple recently purchased Beats by Dre, complete with the Beats Music streaming service. You may also know that Apple create the mobile operating system iOS, and that it is the main rival to Google’s Android operating system. As such, you may not be too surprised to learn that Google has now purchased a music streaming service of its own.
Google has acquired Songza, for an unconfirmed (but highly suspected) fee of $39m. It’s not quite on the same level as the $2bn Apple paid for the Beats brand, nor is it quite of the same social scale. Still, it’s a widely respected and pretty popular music streaming service, and who knows how far it can go with Google’s backing.
For those who haven’t tried it, Songza offers up custom, tailored playlists in the same vein as services like Rdio and Pandora. The big difference, though, is that Songza’s playlists are picked by hand. Real music experts and aficionados sit down and proffer their wealth of knowledge and taste to create a set of tracks which are, in theory, a lot more accurately curated than any computer algorithm could manage. Songza also offers up special, situational playlists – for example right now it’s a sunny, late Wednesday morning at work in the office. Songza will offer up a selection of playlists based on the mood and setting of that environment. It’s available as both a browser-based service and as a mobile app for Android and iOS. Unfortunately it’s only available in North America right now, but hopefully Google will soon spread it to further-flung reaches of the globe.
With so much speculation surrounding how exactly Apple will implement the Beats Music service into iOS, it will be interesting how exactly Google plans to progress from here. There’s already Google Play Music, although right now it’s little more than a store – an Android equivalent to iTunes. Streaming implementation could really help to make the app relevant.