In this news article from CIO.com, Google is looking to use the power of big data analytics and machine learning to enhance its capabilities and functionality of their music streaming service, Google Play Music. With this rollout comes a lot of features that hope to compete against the big data analytics capabilities of some of Google’s competitors such as Netflix and Amazon. The concept is that big data will select music based on the time of day, location, weather, mood you are in, and other daily habits such as recognizing when you are walking the dog or going on a jog.
Currently, I believe we have the big data to correctly and efficiently produce a good list of suggestions and selections with applications such as Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, etc. However, I do not think we are using the right factors to determine those suggestions, which is why I personally am excited about this introduction of new big data and machine learning from Google Play Music. Countless times with Netflix are the suggestions hit-or-miss, which can really hurt a user’s enjoyment of an application since these applications have so much content to search through – if I spend more than 10 minutes searching for something interesting to watch on Netflix I simply just quit out of Netflix and go to something else.
With regards to the music streaming service specifically, I think big data and machine learning capabilities have already existed through services such as Pandora, Spotify, SoundCloud and YouTube. However, as someone who avidly listens to music all day every day, there are definitely flaws that need to be addressed – for example, just because I went to sleep after a long night out Saturday listening to dance music and rap doesn’t mean I should be suggested the same songs on the following, groggy early Sunday morning. With this new use of big data analytics from Google Play, I might actually download and subscribe to the music service if it fulfills its promises.
My one concern however, is that in order for these types of streaming services to work, they have to collect the big data from you first, which means that even the first few weeks of listening might not produce the results I would hope to achieve immediately. I think Google might want to look into doing some sort of initial survey when signing up to the service (similar to what Beats did with Apple Music) to quickly gather some big data that can be used as a foundation to build a profile for the listener.
I think if Google can nail this update with Google Play Music, it will change the music streaming service substantially (in addition to bolstering Google’s already generally lackluster reputation for music streaming services). It would also be interesting to see what future updates they could have; maybe changing the music depending on whether there is a group of people listening or just one person would be a neat addition for other avid music listeners.