Google has finally brought a native messaging platform to iPhone with the introduction of Hangouts, but will we ever see the company's ever-enticing music offering on iOS?
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OK, Google: You gave us Hangouts, where’s Play Music?

When I recently migrated from the Android operating system to iOS, there were two services that I could not fathom surviving without: Google Talk and Google Play Music. Two products that I used every day, and neither had a proper app for the iPhone.┬áDuring yesterday’s Google I/O keynote, the search giant addressed half of this problem, but only made my lingering desire for the other grow.

google hangouts

With Hangouts Google pretty much killed Talk as we know it, but it finally brought a Google-based messaging service to iPhone in a native, free form. Nonetheless, the end user won’t notice the difference. Simply enter your Google credentials and chat away as normal with the added bonus of group messaging and video calling. But don’t tell my wallet — I just spent more than a few dollars seeking out the perfect Talk replacement.

Google also announced updates to their Play Music service, the major addition being All Access, a monthly subscription service that allows users to quickly and easily stream any track from the Google Play library. Unlike Hangouts this new experience does not come with a first-ever iPhone app. Play Music remains exclusive to web and Android users, along with its free 20,000 song cloud locker for storing your own music off device. And no, I don’t really feel like paying Apple an extra fee to do the same thing, regardless of how much I enjoy their phone.

google music logo

I suppose this quasi-rant is more directed at Google then anyone else. Yes, Play Music makes a fine exclusive feature that could draw more users to your Android platform. I will cede to some extent the fact that launching Play Music for iOS would also come with the headache of introducing some version of the Play content store, but it’s not a necessity to allow iOS users to buy music direct on their phones. Perhaps the app could simply feature the All Access portion of the service?

When Play Music became a subscription-based service, Google lost the ability to use monetization as an excuse. Yes, an Android user intrinsically has higher value to Google, but there is at least a good fraction of iOS users that would surely drop $9.99/month for a streaming music app with all the resources and innovations of Google behind it.

Then again, given Apple’s large stake in iTunes, maybe there is something going on behind the scenes. A gentleman’s agreement not to piss in the proverbial backyard of your neighbor, but as that is merely speculation we won’t go there.

I suppose the only left is to sit back and see how Apple responds in this little chess match. If iTunes can match (no pun intended) the efforts of Play Music All Access, perhaps I can finally bring myself to cut ties with Google’s offering.


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  • I am waiting for a (hopefully) future Music app for iOS before doing the trail and hopefully getting a worthy Spotify replacement.

    • There was an interview with Engadget where one of the Google Music guys said they fully intend to bring the service to iOS, but I suppose there must be some other hurdles to clear before that is a possibility.

  • Julian Nowland

    what person in their right mind migrates from android to ios

  • Alu Zeros

    Would be nice if google made one

  • Cloudplayapp

    Cloud Play, a new iPad app on the app on the App Store, is awaiting approval for an update to include “All Access” music. Check it out if your interested.

  • J. Patrick Smith

    Something tells me that the biggest hurdle to Play Music on iOS is going to be Apple… any purchases made in an iOS versioned Play Music would have to go trough iTunes, am I right? So either Google takes it on the chin and subsidizes customer purchases so that even after Apple gets it’s cut of the profits the customer still pays a competitive price to the native iTunes app price for the same tune or Google prices their tracks higher for iOS users and kills any incentive for using Play Music on that platform.
    If the logic is wrong, please correct me.

    • jnt

      I guess they could simply make it a stream-only version of the app? Yet still based on your library?

      • this seems like the most obvious/immediate solution.

    • James Rogers

      They can just go the same route as Amazon, Audible, Spotify, and others. As long as purchases are made on the web, and there is no link to the web store in the app, then Apple doesn’t get a cut, but will approve the app.

  • Renkman

    Any chance this service could be offered completely via your browser? I know, not optimal, but…