Google buys music streaming service Songza to beef up its own music offering

Competition in the music streaming space intensified further Tuesday when Google announced it’d acquired Songza, a streaming radio service similar to Pandora that serves up tracks based on a user’s music tastes and mood, among other factors.

The move by the Web giant comes just weeks after Apple announced it was acquiring on-demand music service Beats Music for $3 billion. The terms of this latest deal aren’t currently known, though various reports have suggested Google paid far less than Apple – possibly as little as $40 million.

In a post on Google Play announcing the deal, the Mountain View company said it’s not planning any immediate changes to Songza, “so it will continue to work like usual for existing users.”

However, it added that “over the coming months” it’ll be exploring ways “to bring what you love about Songza to Google Play Music,” indicating it plans to integrate some or all of Songza’s features into its own music service.

Google also said it was keen to “bring their great work to the music experience on YouTube and other Google products,” further confirming that the purchase was as much about getting hold of the talent and the technology behind Songza as it was about acquiring the music service itself.

Songza, on its website, also reassured its current fans that no immediate changes were in the pipeline as a result of its move to Google, “other than making it faster, smarter, and even more fun to use.”

New York-based Songza has actually been around a while, launching in 2007, though the service was overhauled in 2011 to offer an improved experience for users, with changes that included the hiring of a number of music experts to help curate better playlists.

The service has built up a steady following in North America, with its five million or so users given access to customized playlists based on a range of contextual factors. ‘Concierge’, a feature it rolled out in 2012, takes account of things like time of day, date and a user’s activity to select relevant tracks, while earlier this year it went further down the contextualizing path when it teamed up with the Weather Channel to work its data into playlist selection.

With millions of songs to choose from across a myriad of music streaming services, the accuracy of suggested playlists according to a user’s music tastes is of paramount importance if the service is to remain popular. Google evidently believes in Songza’s system, a system which could also be used to serve up recommendations for other products in its Google Play store, ultimately helping to lock users into its Android ecosystem.

Product Review

Garmin’s 4G LTE VivoActive 3 keeps you safe when you’re out on the trails

Garmin takes its already great VivoActive 3 Music fitness smartwatch and adds a 4G LTE connection, courtesy of Verizon. The watch now has streaming music, independent GPS, and best of all, SMS support and various safety features. We’ve…
Home Theater

Polk Audio’s Command Bar joins Alexa’s multiroom music party

Polk's Command Bar is a home theater soundbar with Alexa built in. But with a new update, it can also be grouped with Amazon's Echo products and other third-party speakers for a multi-room experience.

Don't use streaming apps? Try the best free media players for your local music

Rather than using music-streaming apps, you may want something for playing your local music. Good news! There are some good alternatives. These are the best media players you can download for free on Windows.

The best new music this week: Angelo De Augustine and more

Are you looking for the best new music? Each week, we scour the internet to find the most compelling new releases just for you. On tap this week: New albums from Angelo De Augustine and Miss Grit.

Google Fi is getting support for the next-gen messaging standard, RCS Chat

Google has been pushing the development of the RCS Chat standard, and now it's finally bringing that new standard to its own carrier -- Google Fi. With Chat, customers will get features like read receipts, better group messaging, and more.

OnePlus 7 to use latest body design to get rid of the notch, leak suggests

The OnePlus 6T may still be new, but we're already looking ahead to the upcoming OnePlus 7. It will use the Snapdragon 855, and may have a new slider body design. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 7.

Benchmark scores surface for Google's midrange Pixel 3 XL Lite

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 Lite XL.

Samsung's advanced folding phone needed 'total reconfiguration' to make it real

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy Fold, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.

The Sony Xperia XZ4 shines in case renders from accessory maker Olixar

Sony may have released the Xperia XZ3 in the past few months, but already it's preparing to release a follow-up, the Xperia XZ4. We're learning plenty about the phone now some details have started to leak out, and it's getting exciting.

The LG G8 ThinQ may arrive at MWC 2019 with an on-screen speaker

LG is expected to release a successor to the LG G7 ThinQ, possibly called the LG G8 ThinQ, this year and rumors about it are already spreading. Here's everything we know about it so far.

Oppo could reveal a new smartphone with a 10x optical zoom

Cracking a solid zoom on smartphones has been a riddle many years in the solving. One company may have finally cracked it though: Oppo may be about to show off a phone with a 10x optical zoom.

How to switch TicHealth to Google Fit on the Mobvoi TicWatch C2 and TicWatch Pro

The Mobvoi TicWatch C2 and TicWatch Pro are both much-loved and feature-packed watches, and they offer excellent fitness tracking. Recently, Mobvoi has switched out Google Fit for TicHealth, but you can switch them back. Here's how.

Benchmark results show Snapdragon 855 destroys previous-generation chip

Almost exactly a year after the launch of the Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm took the wraps off of its next-generation mobile platform, the new Snapdragon 855. The new chip puts an emphasis on A.I. performance.

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2019

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.