Google and Amazon Need to Get it Together

Let’s start this out with a disclaimer; this is an opinion/rant. Do with it what you will.

We all know there is some stiff competition between the two Titans; Google and Amazon. But can they please get over their back-and-forth bickering already? It is costing their users like you and me a lot of missed entertainment!

About the time Amazon started selling their FireTV devices, they decided stop selling Google products that it saw as direct competition. At the time, this included Google’s Android TV devices and has grown to include their Google Home Smart Assistants. Amazon has even gone so far to not just exclude these devices from its search results, but actually display THEIR devices instead! Note the search results for “google home”:

In an act of apparent retaliation, Google has pulled its YouTube service from availability on Amazon devices. Quid Pro Quo, eh Google? This has gone back and forth several times, with occasional arrangements bringing the massive service back to Amazon devices briefly, at best.

Let’s face it, a LARGE number of us consumers are regularly using and subscribing to BOTH Google and Amazon services. And it was AWESOME to be able to switch from watching music videos on YouTube to catching up on Sneaky Pete from my Amazon FireTV. Now, without workarounds, that is no longer as easy as it should be.

And one thing that really doesn’t make sense to… While voice-controlled home assistants like Google Home and the earlier Amazon Echo devices could be considered direct competition, Google has nothing to compete with the screen-toting Amazon Echo devices like the Echo Show and Echo Spot!

Even if/when they do, wouldn’t it make sense to give some leeway and come to an agreement which allows users of those Amazon Devices to use their YouTube service? Sure, Amazon bitch-slapped Google by not selling their hardware, but as you know, Services = MONEY. And by eliminating the customer base that uses Amazon devices like the Echo Show and Echo Spot (as well as the millions of FireTV and Fire Tablet users), Google is essentially punching themselves in the DICK by loosing out on that large group of people who could be using their service.

On the flip-side, you can FIRE up the Google Play Store (pun definitely intended) on your Google devices and enjoy any of Amazon’s services you want; Prime Video, Prime Music, etc. So apparently Amazon recognizes the importance of having their services available to users of non-Amazon hardware. Too bad Google hasn’t come to that same understanding.

I really just don’t get it….

Can’t we all just get along….and get YouTube back?

Bing it on?

Hey Bing, Don’t be evil. Play fair….

Go to BingItOn.com and try to search for something. Go ahead. I’ll wait….

Ok, now go to Google.com and search for the same thing. Notice anything? Yeah, that’s it. What Bing represents as Google Search results are not entirely accurate. You see, Google has this nice preview page side pane that Microsoft conveniently leaves off of their BingItOn page. Maybe they were afraid of a fair fight.

Paid Music Services (an editorial)

Google Music has had its doors open to the general public for some time now, placing itself in the game with others like iTunes, Rhapsody, Rdio and Grooveshark (to name a few). That being said, I find myself wondering just how it will fit in, and just why we need another pay-per-song music service anyway. Over the years, I have found myself using all of the above-mentioned services, and the more I think about it the less the pay-per-song services make sense.

With iTunes, and now with Google Music, you can add your own existing MP3s with ease and even store them in the cloud to use with multiple devices wherever you may be (as long as you have a network connection). They also give you the option of buying new music for download and/or the cloud. Then, you can sync your music to allow for offline listening. Here’s the thing, though. When it comes to discovering new music I find Google falls short. At least with iTunes, they have radio stations based on your favorite artists or genres. Occasionally I’ll hear a song I’ve never heard and be like “Hey, who’s that? I like this!” With Google, you can “shop” for music but it has the same shortcomings as other pay-per-song services….namely, the 30-second clips. With the kind of music I like, it’s sometimes hard to know for sure if I’m really going to dig a song with nothing more than a 30-second clip. Not to mention, I have to search or browse though bands to find something I like.

In step services like Rhapsody and Rdio. They let you pay a monthly fee to have unlimited access to music. They also are cloud-based and accessible from anywhere there is a network but also have the ability to cache for offline listening.  With these services, I can play “artist radio” that will play music based on an artist I choose.  I find this to be the easiest way to discover new music. I know you’re going to say, hey Pandora does that for free! But the problem with Pandora is that I can ONLY listen to radio stations, where services like Rhapsody and Rdio let me also pick specific artists, albums, or even songs I want to hear, as well as the ability to build my own playlists with songs I don’t “own.”  (longest sentence ever?) Now I have access to full songs from any band I can think of (or never thought of) and I can listen to them on my computer, my smartphone, etc. It’s that freedom that really sets these services apart from pay-per-song services.

Well what about all those MP3s I have taking up storage space? Well, they’re yours. They always will be (the ones you obtained legally, anyway). In the meantime, I can add all those same albums to my Rdio or Rhapsody collections and listen to them anywhere (from the cloud) without having to convert them with iTunes or upload them to Google.

Then there’s Grooveshark. It lets you do most of the same things as paid services like Rhapsody or Rdio but without the “paid” part. From my computer, I can listen to all the music I want, absolutely free. The catch comes when I want to listen from my smartphone. But it’s not much of a catch because for a small monthly fee, I can download an App and listen to everything I want on my smartphone, too! Best part about Grooveshark? They have lots of GWAR!

So here’s my conclusion…I can’t see paying for music through services like Google or iTunes. If I “buy” an album I want something tangible. I like CDs. I like inserts and lyrics and all that comes along with actually buying an album. If I’m just going to be listening to music digitally, I see much more usefulness in monthly services that will let me listen to ANYTHING I want.  For me, I’ve settled in with Rdio. It’s a little pricier that Grooveshark but I find their mobile app to be much better than the competition.

Chime in and let us know what you think in the comments….

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