Week in a Nutshell #24

Welcome to the twenty-fourth episode of the 'Week in a Nutshell’ series,

It was relatively a slow week in terms of tech news. Google Play Music and Facebook Messenger announcements were the highlights of this week.


  1. Google Launches Free, Ad-Supported Version Of Play Music
  2. Messenger No Longer Requires A Facebook Account

Google Launches Free, Ad-Supported Version Of Play Music

Google Play Music was only available to monthly paid subscribers until the launch of new ad-supported free version. Competitors such as Spotify and Pandora has been offering ad-supported freemium version for awhile now so it was about time for Play Music to match that membership model. Ad-supported free version will drive new user acquisition for Play Music.

I've been using Spotify desktop client for the last 3 years and I really like being able to play the songs I want on-demand even though I'm not a premium (paid) user. However, ad-supported version of Play Music will not provide this feature. Instead, it will let you browse through the curated playlists based on your mood and time of the day. With this approach, ad-supported version of Play Music provides a user experience similar to Pandora. Ads that appear on Play Music will be a part of the Google AdWords Display Network. Thus, advertisers will have the chance to show targeted Play Music ads to music lovers.

I'll personally stick with Spotify desktop client until Play Music allows me to play songs I want on-demand in the ad-supported version.

Messenger No Longer Requires A Facebook Account

Facebook announced that having a Facebook account will not be required to sign up for the Facebook Messenger application. In other words, if you don't want to go through the hassle of creating and managing a Facebook account and deal with the temptation of having a look at the News Feed, you would still be able to chat with your friends over the Messenger app without having a Facebook account.

'Sign up/in with your phone number' is a booming trend especially in emerging and developing markets. It is clear that Facebook is trying to take advantage of that trend to expand their ever increasing 700 million user base even more. However, I'm curious if this new sign up method would lead Facebook Messenger to cannibalize the new user acquisition of WhatsApp.

I consider forcing users to create an account in your platform just to use your messaging app as one of the blockers for new user growth. We are all familiar with the WhatsApp story by now. Allowing users to sign in by just using their phone number enabled WhatsApp to have great success in user growth. However, on the flip side of the coin, another messaging app, Google Hangouts still keeps on asking new users to sign in with their Google accounts or otherwise create a new one. Based on my observations of my own social network, most of my friends do not want to create a new Google account just to use Hangouts. Fair enough.

I think Facebook analyzed the user growth performance of Messenger, WhatsApp and Google Hangouts really well and took great lessons. Facebook made the right decision to open up the Messenger ecosystem to those people who don't have a Facebook account. This will help Messenger to hit the 1 million users mark.

We came to the end of the twenty-fourth episode of ‘Week in a Nutshell’ series. Please comment, share, like and/or recommend this post if you enjoyed it.