Google Wants To Make the Soundtrack for Your Life

Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music: these are all common names for online music streaming services that have left their mark on the music industry and our pop culture for years to come. 

But have you ever heard of Songza?

Songza was another similar music streaming service that stood out from its cohorts in a special way. While Pandora recommends playlists based on bands you like, and Spotify let’s you pick a playlist based on whatever genre or mood you’re in, Songza was a fusion of the two. It would recommend music playlists based on the time of day, where you most likely were (at work or home), and what you have listened to before. 

Ever since acquiring Songza in 2014, Google Play is slowly becoming more and more like Songza, but with one key advantage. Instead of waiting for users to input their music preferences or rely on the time zone, Google Play uses the technology to its most advantage by tapping into you. Your search history, YouTube videos you’ve watched, your calendar, frequent websites and more. As invasive as it may sound, by pairing Songza’s mood and time algorithms with Google’s data, the team behind Play Music is striving to provide the perfect playlist for any moment in your life. 

It’s music personalization with the power of Google behind it. For example, if it was a rainy day where you work, Play Music would have a rainy-day-focused playlist waiting for you when you reached your desk. Planning out a pub crawl with friends? Play Music wants to make the soundtrack for your night. Got a date night with the spouse in your calendar? Play Music will sneak in a romantic playlist. While the algorithms themselves are not mind-readers that can sense your mood, the artificial intelligence can still anticipate what you might need based on your online behaviors. 

David Pierce of WIRED spoke with Elias Roman, the lead product manager for Google Play Music, about the progress of the software. He wrote “...where Spotify’s trying to break down your music taste into its many component parts, then assemble playlists you’ll love, Google’s going one step further. It’s not just trying to say ‘here’s some music you’ll like,’ but ‘here’s the song you need right now.’” 

People often joke that they wish they had epic music playing when they completed some great achievement: a power walk across the stage at graduation, or blood-pumping music when you take a dare. As Google Play Music marries the philosophy of Songza with the all-seeing eye of Google, this new technology may just be the answer to finding the epic soundtrack of your life.