MOG's new Google app
The average music lover probably has zero interest in the workings of Google's Chrome apps. But based on what the subscription music service MOG is doing with its app, I'd say the technology could be a real boon to cloud-based music services.
The MOG app is a stripped-down version of MOG's site, letting users browse through a handful of charts and editors' picks or search for specific items from MOG's huge library. At its best it's wickedly fast and responsive -- searches yield results in the blink of an eye, songs start playing almost as soon as you double-click on their titles (with no need for a player to pop up in a separate window). That's a function of HTML5, the updated version of HTML used by Chrome apps, said MOG honcho David Hyman.
The faster the app responds to search and play requests, the closer it comes to replicating the performance of iTunes, which primarily plays songs from the user's hard drive (it can also tap a local network for tracks). Of course, MOG's advantage is that it has close to 10 million tracks in its library, which is, umm, a bit larger than the typical consumer's.
Missing is the rich overlay of content on the MOG site — the blog posts, reviews, videos, pictures and the like. Also absent are the site's personalization tools, such as the ability to build virtual collections and playlists. I missed the latter more than the former, frankly.
Hyman said the current version of the app is just a starting point, although it hints at where the company is headed as it overhauls its website. Future versions of the app will bring in more of the personalization features of the MOG site. They'll also take advantage of things that HTML5 can do that MOG's website can't, such as enabling drag-and-drop playlists and matching tracks on a user's hard drive with those in MOG's library.
Meanwhile, the site will evolve to look and function more like the app. "This is really going to be the new MOG," Hyman said.
MOG allows subscribers to play an unlimited number of songs from its online jukebox for a flat monthly fee. The Web-only service is $5 a month; for $10 a month, users can access the jukebox from mobile phones and cache songs to play when they're offline.
-- Jon Healey