Tag Archives: Google China

Embed and share Google Music playlists

The big music news in China last week was the launch of Google Music – a free service allowing users in the mainland to download or stream more than a million licensed songs. Yes, you heard that right – FREE.

Finding FREE MP3s to stream and download isn’t exactly news, right? The difference here is that Google have the authorisation from 140 label partners including the big 4 major labels – Warner Music Group, Universal Music, EMI and Sony Music Entertainment. Google’s revenue model is to sell advertising around the service and split the profits amongst the labels. Presumably, a portion of that amount sees the artists. We hope.

While it’s seemingly a blow to the potential introduction of paid services like iTunes or Amazon in China the move is said to be less about the music and more of a strategic play against search rival Baidu. Google currently trails Baidu as the search engine of choice in China.

The catch? It’s only available to users on a mainland China IP address. For nerds or technically savvy folks this is probably a small hurdle to circumvent.

Get Started

To get started with Google Music you’ll need to get familiar with the interface. The site is in Chinese but its fairly easy to see what’s going on. George Godula from Web2Asia has put together a comprehensive overview of what you’ll need to know to get started:

Embed and share your playlists

Now that you’ve got the basics out of the way there’s a neat trick to allow you to embed and share your playlists to put on a blog, forum, or website. It’s a handy way for others to listen and download (legally!) songs they might like.

1. Find the code

Once you’ve got a handle on Google Music and created a playlist of songs its simply a matter of finding the < embed > tag’s content in the page source. To do this right click on the playlist in your favourite browser and “view source”. Scroll through the code until you find the < embed > tag and copy the whole line as shown below.

picture-24

2. Paste the embed tag

Next you’ll need to paste the embed tag on your blog, website, or favourite forum. The code will be rather long but don’t worry. Paste it in and hit preview. If the player is shown with your music then you’ve done it. If the player doesn’t fit quite right you may need to follow step 3.

3. Resize the player

The player is rather big and might take some tweaking to fit properly on your website. They key is to change a few paramaters at the end of the < embed > tag code. At the very end of this tag, past all the gobblygook code is the following bit of code you can change:

picture-23

Simply change “noscale” to “scale”, then change the height and width of the player in % or pixels. For the example below I’ve chosen a pixel height of 450 and a width of 550. Change around with those settings until the player looks right on your site.

4. Rock

As God, Bon Scott said “Let there be Rock!”

Update: I have a feeling the content in the player might expire after a week or two.

What does IE 8 say about Web development in China?

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) was released late last week – another browser, “whoop-dee-do”, right? Well maybe, but, the new browser release is an interesting insight into the way Web development seems to happen in China.

In non-geek speak the new browser uses a new rendering engine which more closely follows open standards such as the Firefox and Safari browsers. This will, and has, caused many popular sites to break around the world – including Microsoft’s own sites. To combat this problem the Redmond company has released an ‘incompatibility list’ which display sites in ‘non-standards’ mode if the tool is downloaded and installed. To keep it simple, ‘non-standards mode’ reverts to the old rendering engines of previous Internet Explorer browsers – IE6 and IE7.

It’s a useful feature, but, what is striking about the list is the high amount of Chinese Web sites on it. Many are high traffic Web sites in China which haven’t updated their code to work with IE 8. For example the recent list included Tencent, Baidu, Sogou, Ku6, Tudou, YouKu, ZDNet China, Taobao, NetEase, 163.com, QQ, and Google China.

I’m not quite 100% sure of the reason; Is it lazy coding? Is it too soon to upgrade the code? Was there not enough testing time? Developers too busy with other priorities, Were Microsoft’s communication channels to Web developers in China poor? Is Internet Explorer 8 not worth targeting in China compared to other browsers? Are Web developers in China poor at building sites that comply to open Web standards?

It’ll be interesting to see where this goes in China, the world’s largest Internet population, in terms of market share for Microsoft. Not only does Redmond have to compete with Firefox, Chrome, and Safari but other browsers popular in China such as Maxthon.

I won’t publish the full list of incompatible Web sites here, because, they are constantly changing, but you can download the most current file from Microsoft here.