Spotify has been testing a new voice search system with a small sample of users, allowing them to control music playback using just their voice.
The system shows up as a small mic icon on the bottom right of the search section of the app, Apple Insider reports. After tapping it, you can use your voice to search for music by artist, genre, or album names, or to control playback by skipping and pausing tracks.
This isn’t the first time you’ve been able to control Spotify using your voice, but it’s the first time Spotify has provided the tech itself. Music continues to be one of the most popular uses for smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, and Spotify is key to this.
Given that the music app effectively already has voice control, this really begs the question of why Spotify would spend the time and resources to develop its own technology.
Why go it alone?
One reason could be that although Google Assistant can happily be used with Spotify, Apple’s Siri has been kept exclusive to Apple Music. Having its own voice tech could allow for voice control on Apple devices for the first time.
But potentially this development points towards Spotify developing its own hardware, as recent job listings would suggest.
Finally, it could be the case that having its own voice search tech could allow for more Spotify-specific voice control options, such as having it play your daily mixes or save songs to playlists — functionality that Alexa and Google Assistant currently lack. Apple Insider notes that the voice search’s functionality is currently limited, but given it’s in its testing phase this could and probably will improve.
If Spotify does indeed plan to release its own voice search technology and hardware, it could be bad news for Amazon and Google. A huge worry for those two companies is that Spotify might eventually stop making its service available on other platforms.
But the company has a good track record of maintaining support, even when it offers a competing service. For example, Spotify still happily works with Google Cast, despite offering its own Spotify Connect Wi-Fi streaming platform.
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