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In some ways, I prefer Google Play Music’s audio quality to Spotify. I’ve noticed better stereo imaging and separation with Google Play Music. Their encoding also seems to forgo extra program compression, giving the music a wider dynamic range. Google Play Music sounds clearer and more defined, even though it’s at the same bit rate as Spotify. Apple Music? Not even close. I don’t even listen to the hundreds of iTunes albums I bought anymore. I listen to them on Google Play Music now, because they sound better.
Google Play Music allows users to upload up to 50,000 songs into the cloud. If they don’t have it on Google Play Music, you can always upload it. Given their enormous collection of music, you probably won’t use this feature.
Google Play Music Has the Most Accurate Metadata
Music subscription services have notoriously bad metadata — information about the album, track or artist. The most common problem is caused by overloaded artist names. For example, there are quite a few bands named Nexus and every music subscription service, including Google Play Music, has them all muddled together. That said, I have found Google Play Music to have the most accurate metadata. They include a function to report invalid metadata on some platforms, such as the web app. Users can also submit feedback using the iOS app. Google has clearly been listening to its users and cleaning up metadata. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than the competition.
Google Play Music’s Search Feature is Amazing
Google’s main expertise is dealing with huge sets of data. Their search engine is used by virtually everyone. It’s fast, accurate, and seems to almost know what you’re thinking. Google Play Music incorporates a lot of these same technologies into its search feature. It’s light years ahead of Apple’s buggy search feature.
The search feature works as you would expect. Start entering search criteria and it populates the results as you type. Results are presented immediately, with no latency. It also learns from your past searches and music library. Search results favor recent activity. This provides an excellent interface for navigating your music library. You can simply type a few characters and you’ll most likely find what you’re looking for.
Apple Music offers a horrible search feature. It can’t even find some music that is in their catalog. I was unable to refine searches by typing in an artist and album name. It can’t figure out misspellings or do fuzzy searches. It seems like something an intern would create.
Spotify has decent search capabilities. They also weigh search results toward recent activity, making for easier navigation. My only gripe is that the UI turns the search into a filter for your search results. It’s unnecessary, confusing, and creates more UI work. Just filter by appending to the search criteria. That’s what Google Play Music does. It’s hard to beat Google when it comes to search. It’s what they do best. (continue…)