Microsoft quietly announced Xbox Music Web client – simply by activating the service at music.xbox.com. The web client bears similarities to the recently rennovated web app for Windows 8.1, but is less feature-dense than its native version. The service is currently ad-free, and it grabs a user’s music and puts it into playlists and collections that are pre-arranged online. Users can then edit, add, and alter their collections and playlists – with the results synced across clients. One thing missing is a radio-mode, which sets its competitors apart for the time being. But it’s easy to see this service coming in the near future.
Pandora announced today that it is releasing an HTML 5 app for connected TV’s. This follows the push by Pandora to bring its service to Internet-connected automobiles and mobile devices. While it’s available as a native app on Smart TVs, Blu-Ray players, and some set-top boxes, Pandora has been notoriously absent from game consoles; the new app remedies this in its HTML 5 design, which means its available to any TV streaming device – like many game consoles. The goal for Pandora is, ultimately, consistency and quality. The company knows that the best speakers in the house are in the living room, and that the best guaranteed access point in the home is through the TV. Simultaneously, the TV app primes the company to generate significantly more ad revenue, and to combine with commercials and on-screen experiences to create a seamless flow between listening service and discovery engine.
In a continued effort to rebrand and expand its offerings, Foursquare has been evolving from a friend-finder to an expansive recommendation engine. Yelp is their foremost competitor, and with that in mind, Foursquare is revamping its online pages to keep pace with the high standard that its mobile apps have set. According to the company’s data, 50 million people come to the site every month for recommendations and reviews, and most of these viewers are actually from Google. The new design puts the emphasis on the advantages that Foursquare presents, namely its ability to generate relationships between similar places and judge appeal based on hundreds of check-ins and likes. The service, in its new incarnation, isn’t too different from a Pandora for restaurants and bars. Whether it can compete with Yelp’s already established 100 million monthly visitors remains to be seen, but they’re definitely trying to make a concerted effort at trying.