26
Feb
gmusic

A few days ago, we heard unofficial reports that Google was disappointed with the performance of Music thus far. While it's barely been out for a full quarter to date, there have been a few major factors holding the service back. In my opinion, one of the biggest factors holding it back thus far is the lack of an API - or, in English: third-party app support for the service. Luckily, a developer by the name of Simon Weber read the post about Google Music and got in touch a few days ago to let me know that he had a solution to the problem: an unofficial API he's been working on.

Simon's API has support for nearly all of Google Music's features. In fact, just about the only major thing missing is support for uploading formats other than .mp3. It's the result of a month of hard work, but there's a major downside: it's coded in Python. In layman's terms, that means there's only desktop support at the moment. And since it's an API, it's effectively a toolkit; now that it's put together, it can be used on other projects - but it can't stand on its own without direct manual interaction.

Luckily, there is light at the end of the tunnel, at least when it comes to seeing the API integrated into music players. I put Andrew Neal, the developer behind the amazing CyanogenMod 9 music player (now named Apollo), in touch with Simon, and there's at least prospective interest in porting the API to mobile and integrating it into the CM9 music player. While things are still ultra-preliminary at the moment, and there are already some obstacles to overcome, I definitely have an optimistic outlook that we'll see something great. Even better, since most of the work in establishing an API is back-end (figuring out protocols and the like), porting should be fairly simple, so support may be coming to other apps soon.

It's worth mentioning that there could potentially be a minor roadblock - though I'm fairly confident there's nothing to worry about (so much so that it's really just something of an aside). While it's unlikely (and not exactly clear how), Google may take issue with his API, and attempt to shut it down or disable its functionality. Again, though, that seems extremely unlikely.

Simon will be interning at Google this summer - we hope he can put out some equally awesome work while he's there.

If you'd like to check out the code, contribute, or fork it (for example, to begin porting it to mobile), hit up the source link below.

[Source: GitHub]

Aaron Gingrich
Aaron is a geek who has always had a passion for technology. When not working or writing, he can be found spending time with his family, playing a game, or watching a movie.

  • Joseph

    In my opinion, the reason for the lack of interest or response for Google Music is for the same reason that Google+ has not taken off. They are both GREAT products/services, but unless you are really into Android Community websites, you would never really know about them. I dont feel that Google has really done anything to push these products.

    iTunes was forced down your throat if you were an Apple user, and they did an equally big push of the services to the masses. This is what Google needs to do in order to make these products a success.

    And NO, this does not mean they are copying or stealing from Apple, it is marketing basics!!

    • Kevin

      I'd love to see Google pushing it more, but in a non-intrusive way. For example, maybe they could include it as one page in the first-run app that they use to set up your phone (the one that starts with "Touch the Android to begin").

      They could ask on that page "Would you like to use Google Music to wirelessly synchronize your music from your computer to your phone?" And if you select yes, it'll auto-download Google Music.

      I feel like they should be doing this to push a lot more of their apps. How many people would say no to "Would you like to use Google Voice for free SMS and Visual Voicemail?"

      • JimJam

        That is all god and well on a Nexus device and will never happen outside of that as every OEM pushing out Android handsets is trying to make money off of their own music streaming services.

    • Kree

      yea i agree. theyre barely advertising g+ and i havent seen any pushing for gmusic. they are both great servies but they need more push from google and more users.

  • Jordan

    I completely agree with you, Joseph. I feel that's one of the major issues Google had when it comes to new products - advertising. I love Music. I use Music basically everywhere I go. However I feel if it wasn't for me being a Googler, I'd never have found out about it in beta stage. Google advertises music in the Market but that's really the only publicity I've seen for using Music. I feel they need to amp their advertising. I saw a Google+ ad on TV a couple days ago. First time and I've heard it's been around for a while.

    • Cory

      Same here regarding the G+ commercials.....heard about them, saw android sites post them, but never saw 1 on actual tv. Then, when watching the NBA 3point/dunk contests last night, there it was....a G+ commercial with a few of the NBA studio team in a hangout chatting/watching a youtube video.

  • Ray2Jerry

    Here's an obvious one everyone seems to be missing: It's not officially available internationally!! Did they do the math to realize how many Canadian customers have access to iTunes and many other sources of paid music that they are completely missing out on?

    I don't know about the rest of my countrymen but I find myself having a lot more disposable income for apps and music than the economic situation in the US. Tell me, are Americans also spending an average of $30-40 on the Android market a month like I regularly do? They could be, but more of my purchases could be going to buying music too.

    So before they start whining about poor reception of a US only service in their economy they should consider the fact the world market is bigger than Mountain View, California.

    rAy

    • Dwayne

      Precisely. iTunes is available in a whole lot more locations than Google Music. If it were to be made available outside the US, then I doubt Google would be so disappointed.

  • md

    It's an US only based service, where there's also more competition, which exists for years. No wonder it's not "popular". Just Google way for throwing out shit and watching if it'll stick.

  • http://mgamerzproductions.com Mgamerz

    If you are allowed to download via google music I bet you that the RIAA will complain like no other that other apps other than the controlled ones are accessing the service. While I do see their point to some extent, it would be nice for an API, but what if that API was a music sharing app?
    Also, the google music app SUCKS I normally use poweramp in my car but without the cloud music it is not as good as google music, but if I have screw with the app more time than listening to music just to go it to play music it's not worth my time. HAlf of the time, when I'm not in my car, I get 'can't play the stream requested' or just a blank player screen. I love the idea but god damn the app sucks. Make an app that doesn't suck and I'm sure more people will use it.

  • ADWolf

    PowerAmp (which is what I use) utilizing a Google Music API -- official or not -- would be fantasic.

    I wouldn't go so far as to say Google Music sucks -- but it isn't as feature rich as most other 3rd party music apps...

  • Freak4Dell

    Great news. My only worry is that Google would block it, whether on purpose or accidentally, through a future update to their servers. The good thing is that Google loves it when their employees work on side projects, so hopefully, they'll pick up Simon's project and make it official when he starts working there. That would be an excellent way for Google to get the API done fairly quick and easily (I mean, it's already pretty much done as it is), and an excellent way for Simon to convince Google that he's worth hiring permanently.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody Toombs

      The side-project thing was true a few years ago, but these days it's more of a myth. I know a few guys who work at Google and they've all told me that the only time anybody is really encouraged to do side projects is when their current project is in a bit of a holding pattern or when their own part in the project is temporarily side-lined. In other words, they just want you to keep busy, and if your current project won't do that, then you find a side-project to work on.

      By contrast, Microsoft's typical way of handling the same situation is just to have their people work on a different part of the same project until it's caught up and they can go back to the part they are supposed to be working on. Google's way is arguably more fulfilling, but both approaches lead to working your ass off.

      • Freak4Dell

        Wow, didn't know that. That's too bad. The whole side project thing was one of the great benefits of working for Google.

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody Toombs

          It's not gone, just limited. There just isn't a "mandatory" percentage of time for side projects anymore.

  • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody Toombs

    I know Google Music technically lost the 'Beta' tag, but I can't help but think the protocol is almost certainly going to change at least once over the next year. My suspicion is that it'll be pretty fragile. Hopefully Google does opt to give an official API or at least give a localized API for apps to call through the Google Music App, much the same way that iOS has an iTunes API for apps to call on to access their music library.

  • TouchMyBox

    I'm hoping that this paves the way to a Google Music add-on for XBMC.

    I'd be able to die a happy man.

  • Jens Villadsen
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