Yahoo is about to muscle further into the music business Thursday with the launch of Play by Yahoo. It's a free Android app that combines one of the best features of iTunes - the ability to make instant playlists based on a song or a mood - with music-identifying apps like Shazam.
Play's bare-bones home screen offers three options: Library, Shuffle and Identify. Library, naturally, takes you to your tunes (all stored locally - no trendy cloud music here). Shuffle is the Genius-like option. You can create a playlist based on a single song, or simply tell the app to create a playlist based on the kind of tunes it knows you listen to a lot. This is the algorithmic option for when you stumble to your car in the morning, bleary-eyed and decaffeinated, and want to listen to music that works for you, but you don't want to make any decisions.
Identify is where the Shazam-like functionality comes in. Yahoo doesn't yet have quite as extensive a library as Shazam; In my tests, I managed to fox it completely with the 1 Giant Leap album, for example.
But where the Identify feature shines is its 'Continuous' option. As you'd imagine, this listens continuously to the music playing - taking samples every 30 seconds or so - and builds a list of tunes. At a party or a club where you really like the music but don't want to bother the host or DJ for the full set list? Enjoying the light rock set on the radio but can't name any of the songs? Then your app has arrived.
Play is a little too bare-bones at the moment. There's no way to purchase songs once you've identified them, though Yahoo says that's coming soon. The option to play from the cloud - or from Google Musicâ€˜s local cache - would be great. And of course we'd love to see an iPhone version, as would Yahoo, but good luck getting an app that threatens iTunes into the iOS app store.
But overall, this is a strong showing from a company that many consider to be on the ropes. Taking two popular services like Genius and Shazam and not only combining them in a single app, but improving on the functionality of both? That seems to be a sign that Yahoo genuinely understands the needs of users and has the talent and focus to create great things.
Author: / Posted: 16-06-2011