Last week I compared the playlisting capabilities of iTunes Genius, Google’s new Instant Mix and The Echo Nest’s Playlist API. I found that Google’s Instant Mix Playlist were filled with many WTF selections (Coldplay on a Miles Davis playlist) and iTunes Genius had problems generating playlists for any track by the Beatles. I rechecked some of the playlists today to see how they were doing. It looks like both services have received an upgrade since my last post. Here’s the new Google Instant Mix playlist based on a Miles Davis seed song:
All the big WTFs from last week’s test are gone – yay Google for fixing this so quickly. The only problem I see is the doubled ‘Old Folks’ song, but that’s not a WTF. However, I can’t give Google Instant Mix a clean slate yet. Google had a chance to study my particular collection (they asked, and I gave them my permission to do so), so I am sure that they paid particular attention to the big WTFs from last week. I’ll need to test again with a new collection and different seeds to see if their upgrade is a general one. Still, for the limited seeds that I tried, the WTFs seem to be gone.
Similarly, iTunes seems to have had an upgrade. Last week, it couldn’t make any playlist from a Beatles’s song, but this week they can. Here’s a playlist created with iTunes Genius with Polythene Pam as a seed:
Genius creates a serviceable playlist, with no WTFs with the Beatles as a seed, so like Google they were able to clear up their WTFs that I noted from last weeks post. No clean slate for Apple though .. I have seen some comments about how Genius appears to have problems generating playlists for new tracks. More investigation is needed to understand if this is really a problem.
Given the traffic that last week’s post received, it is not surprising that these companies noticed the problems and dug in and fixed the problems quickly. I like to think that my post made playlisting just a little bit better for a few million people.