After a wait of years and 'When will Google Play Music come to India?' questions at every Google event, it has finally been launched in India. The company announced a slew of India-specific services on Tuesday. The music launch was not part of the announcement. It was confirmed by the company when the service went live on Wednesday. At long last, users in the country will be able to access Google Play Music. They can buy songs as well as upload their desktop music library to the cloud to listen to them from anywhere.
Most other countries got access to Play Music since 2011. Indians had to wait a long, long time for Google to finally wade its way through to the country. Google had announced the launch of the Music Store way back in July. It is only now that we are noticing the update. Still missing are a lot of features including a Podcast directory, Play Music All Access for unlimited streaming, a family plan and even genre-based charts.
It is more than a cross-platform music store. You can see charts listing the top songs, albums and new releases. Broad categories like 'Best of Bollywood', 'Indian Pop Hits', 'For the Kids' and 'International Music'. There are also separate sections for regional languages. The user can preview the tracks and pay for them using your Google account credentials or your registered fingerprint through a debit or a credit card. You also have the option of buying Google Play Credits which Google began to sell offline in stores since last year and redeem them with a code. It would be especially useful for those who don't have a debit or credit card.
The updated Play Music will let you upload 50,000 songs from your desktop including your iTunes and Windows Media libraries via Chrome which can be accessed from the app on mobiles, tablets and the web. Music streaming services are still at a nascent stage with powerful competitors like Spotify and Pandora still missing out on the action. Yet, Apple Music, Airtel's Wynk, Saavn and Gaana have been there in the Indian markets for quite some time and it will take Google everything they have to offer to gain traction.
But considering that Play Music comes pre-installed in most Android devices and with over 97 per cent of the smartphones sold in India being Android devices, the Music Store will at least be accessible to majority of the country. The Google Play Music Store is available on Android, Web and iOS in India. Some users have complained the login for iOS is currently broken, but Google won't take long to fix it with an update.
Google unveiled a bunch of other new things inspired by its audience in India yesterday - YouTube Go, a data-saving feature on Chrome, Hindi support for its AI-powered Assistant and a program to bring public Wi-Fi to more places around the world.