Google Play is…
As consumers, we are forced to accept “new” products as the latest and greatest but the truth is, a few hardware upgrades and higher resolution don’t exactly constitute true innovation. I digress, but seriously, remember when the iPad first surfaced? It was something we had never seen before, it changed the way we do business, communicate, and interact with the world around us. Lately, it seems like manufacturers are just trying to pump out new models to turn more profit rather than push the limits and create something truly inspirational and socially-cataclysmic. For those of your Google-oids, I apologize but this new “Google Play” is just that, a technically new product that is a combination of smoke and mirrors surrounding a bunch of features we are already familiar with.
I know what you’re saying, “But it’s Google!”—I get it; their name on a product has some level of clout but is that enough? Shouldn’t be. Let’s take a closer look at Google Play and see how the sum of the parts does not equal innovation.
Movies, music, books and apps—seems simple enough. “450,000 apps, millions of songs and books, and thousands of movies” says Google but it’s the quality of content is what we care about. What’s “thousands of movies” mean if 200 of them begin with “Earnest goes to the…” I guess we’ll have to see what kind of licensing Google has pulled off. There is also a selection of free and paid content. Are these 450,000 apps the same we have seen for years? Hopefully some original content will improve the experience. All in all, we can’t fault Google here, in a world where content is king we have to appreciate the diverse selection they bring to the table.
Just like Netflix, Pandora, and any other media providers with decent programmers, Google Play provides users with media recommendation based on perceived preferences. Nothing special here—just another feature that we have seen a billion times before. However, it would be nice if they made recommendations based of what we like AND what we have already experienced. It would be nice to be recommended only content I have never seen/listened to before.
Anyone surprised that the only social network Google Play can share on is Google+? This monopolistic approach to online social sharing is really disheartening and is a factor that could definitely push a lot of users away, but who knows, maybe this integration will be the Chipetto that turns Google+ into a real boy in the social network world. Of course, there are other options to share via text message and email, but those are so last year…right? One interesting feature is the ability to share individual “listens” with friends. Friends get one free listen one of your music and then have the option to purchase the content from Google Play.
Cross Platform/Cloud Compatibility
This is something I think we will be seeing more and more of as operating systems become increasingly cross-functional. Content is stored in the cloud and is accessible on a variety of devices. Google Play users can download content on their android device on the post-work commute (at a stoplight of course) and access it later on their PC. Again, this feature isn’t ground breaking by any means, but is nice if you don’t believe that the cloud is really Skynet monitoring all your media usage. This all fine and dandy, but what if I want to enjoy my content offline? Users can “pin” the content to a device for hours of offline enjoyment.
Nothing is more of a hassle then starting a new season of Dexter and then having to pack up and leave mid kill-scene to head to the dentist. Just like we saw on the Playstation Vita, Google Play users can pause content on once device and continue on another. Again, nothing original but definitely a nice addition.
Bottom line is that although this is just a combination of features found elsewhere with the big G on it, Google Play has some potential to convert a few iTunes users, and it definitely provides a solid media hub for Android users. The question is, as it starts to take off will we see some true invention and game-changing moves from the developers at Google Play? I hope so.
What do you think? Are you an Android user who jumped for joy when a common-ground media hub was released for your device? What do you think would make Google Play a serious innovator in the online media content market? Maybe you’re critical of the whole thing like me, either way we would love to hear what you think.