Google's Chrome web browser has built a following quietly among music fans, in part because it has made apps from popular services like Gooveshark, MOG, Rhapsody, Rdio and Pandora all available for download via the Chrome Web store. But despite the program's low profile, recent expansions on predictable and older offerings – such as Shazam's song-identifying add-on and the beat-building tool Music Creator by Aviary – continue to provide novel surprises that may be worth seeking out.
Skip past popular browser extensions by NPR, Last.fm and Audiotool and you'll find that services now include the likes of OMP3 and ListnPlay. The former lets you search for and share tunes straight from open browser windows, while the latter lets you assemble audio and video into robust playlists designed for social network sharing. Alternately, those interested in making music might try more productive apps such as cloud-based song creation utility UJAM, collaborative and visual music-building tool Technitone or multiplayer point-and-click production studio utility Plink.
Happily, for those seeking more passive listening solutions, simple album and song playback features are well covered, too. Credit a variety of services such as iMelody.FM (cloud listening and music collection management), Saavn (access to bumping Bollywood showtunes) and Listube (useful for building and exchanging online playlists). From radio to video and karaoke players that show the lyrics to YouTube music videos, multimedia is clearly a forte here. Perhaps this excess of everyday resources is what users have to thank for oddities like Online Music Alarm, an interactive song- and music video-based alarm clock, and You Are Listening to Los Angeles, which melds ambient music with live LAPD police radio broadcasts.
Crammed with extensions, add-ons and apps from both individual bedroom software creators and professional studios, Chrome appears so well-stocked presumably due to easier software approvals and integration processes than Apple or Android. Perhaps that's why it's been bubbling quietly in the background as one of the most promising new platforms for music listening and discovery, given the browser's widespread development community support. A lightweight, fast-moving alternative to rivals Firefox and Internet Explorer, the browser won't be for all takers – but it's the first place to turn if you're looking for solutions like Slasher, a handy utility which replaces all text slash (/) characters on websites with images of the Guns N' Roses guitarist.