If you know anything about me, you won’t be terribly surprised to learn that one of my favourite things about our new Google Home Mini is the radio. That function is mostly powered by Tunein, the best radio streaming app there is. There may be a better one out there somewhere, but I haven’t seen it. Discovering this was extra exciting for me because I subscribe to Tunein’s premium service, but it also turned out to be another example of one of my least favourite things about our new Google Home Mini. Information availability.
Don’t get me wrong, it can be pretty easy to find information about these things. The problem is that it’s not consistent. Searching for anything and Google Home Mini could take you anywhere. Sometimes you’ll get official Google help. Sometimes you’ll get a general tech website with lists of things you can do that may or may not be relevant or up to date. Sometimes you’ll get press releases. And more often than you’d think, you’ll wind up in a forum full of people just as confused as you are.
Such was the case when I tried to answer what I thought would be a relatively simple question. Is it possible to play paid Tunein content over this speaker? There are, as far as I can figure, only two answers to this question. Yes and here’s how, or no and here’s why. But all anybody seemed to want to tell me was that Tunein was available on Google, all you had to do was ask. Well yeah, but is *all* of Tunein available? Nobody could or would answer that. I Googled. I asked the Mini. Hey, why not? It should know what it does. It doesn’t. It never seems to know how to help you when you ask it questions about itself. I even looked in Tunein’s own knowledge base and came up empty.
Finally I wrote Tunein an email, and later the same day I got my answer. Right now you can’t use a Google Home device to play Tunein premium content, and there aren’t currently plans for that to change. The person who wrote me back did say he would pass my feedback along to the development team though, and I hope he does. But in case he doesn’t, consider this me passing it on to you myself, Tunein Dev team.
Please please please please please consider letting us link our premium accounts with our Google Homes. I have other ways to listen to that stuff and they work just fine, but since I’m already yelling at my Mini to play me things using your free side, it only makes sense at least from the end user’s point of view to be able to do that for everything you offer. It’s not as though I’m unsubscribing if this doesn’t happen, but it wouldn’t hurt to offer people one more reason to stay or sign up, would it?