If you don’t think that Google is serious about making YouTube Music its main music streaming app (sorry Google Play Music), the past few months should have convinced you otherwise. While it still cannot be a full-blown music app competitor to Spotify, it is trying to very slowly get there. The latest new addition is support for app integrations of other Google-owned apps, namely Android TV, Google Assistant, Google Maps, and Waze. Most of these will probably not be news to you but now it’s official.
We’ve previously told you about the “integration” with Android TV, which is basically just having a Music tab in the existing YouTube app. There is no dedicated app and you cannot search the whole music library or access uploaded music files, hopefully just for now. You can just access custom mixes and recommended playlists for now. You can also download the YouTube music app from the Play Store so you can get one-click access but it’s not a stand-alone app.
You can now use Google Assistant commands to play recommended music on your Assistant-enabled smartphones and Google Nest speakers. Unfortunately, you can’t just say “Hey Google, play Taylor Swift”. What you can say is “Hey Google, play recommended music from YouTube Music” and it will play music based on your listening history, including your favorite artist and genres.
The Google Maps and Waze integration have also previously rolled out to some users but this is the official announcement. Basically you can add YouTube Music as your default music player so it will play in the background as you drive, with controls on your navigation screen. You can pause, play, skip tracks, choose from a set of playlists, or click the logo to open the app on your display, but please don’t do it while you’re actually driving.
Now as to whether we’ll see more improvements to these app integrations for YouTube Music later on, we hope they will as there is a lot of things to fix. The Android TV integration for one has to become better, including giving the app the ability to play in the background. Let’s see in the next few months how YouTube Music can become better.