Google’s new subscription music service has debuted to mostly rave reviews. The service, Google Play Music All Access, is the internet giant’s answer to already popular music streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, and Rdio. In fact, most of the reviews of the new service have focused on directly comparing Google’s service to existing apps. The general verdict is that Google has the slightly superior product.

Google Play All Access seems to be a kind of hybrid between Spotify and Pandora: it both lets you search for a specific song to stream or build a radio station around that song or its artist. There are also several types of “playlist” modes on Play All Access, one of which is called Listen Now. This playlist directs you to any playlists you have personally created and includes access to all of the songs you have uploaded into the cloud from your personal library.

The Radio function is relatively self-explanatory, and showcases all the previous streaming radio stations you have created in the past. The more you listen to your radio stations, the better the Google algorithm becomes at predicting what new music you will like. Similar to Pandora, you can vote on which songs you like or do not like. Unlike Pandora, however, you have an unlimited number of skips available. Additionally, you can see which songs are going to play next, so you can skip ahead to the one you want to hear most. If you particularly like a song, you can easily add it to a playlist, watch the YouTube video, or buy it for permanent download into your personal collection.

For avid Google and Android users, a subscription to Play All Access should seamlessly integrate with all existing Google accounts and apps. The service is not yet available for iOS users, however Google announced in May that iOS compatibility should be introduced this summer. For now, Android or desktop users can subscribe for $10 per month. If you subscribe prior to June 30, you will receive the special introductory price of $8 per month. Regardless, there is a 30-day trial period, so there will be no cost to decide for yourself which music streaming service you prefer.

- Claire Kalia


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