If you’re not yet using Pandora, I don’t think you’re getting the most out of music. Pandora is by far the easiest and the best way to stream music online. Take it to the desktop, on your phone, or in your car. Pandora has helped me stumble across artists I’d have never heard of before and has turned the task of listening to music that I want to hear into something as simple as clicking the play button.
For those of us who aren’t yet paying for Pandora One, we’re stuck with listening along through the browser player. Having a dedicated tab up is a small price to pay for all the greatness that Pandora offers, but subscribers probably get a real kick out of that free tab space when their using their Pandora One desktop application. In this article, I’d like to walk you through a Chrome browser extension that can help take away so much attention from that pesky Pandora tab.
SoundControl Beta isn’t an extension that is easy to get lost in. I’ve seen many confusing add-ons and extensions for Pandora on Firefox and Chrome, but this is not one of them. The function of SoundControl is simple: take the most important elements of the Pandora browser player and embed it into an extension bar icon.
Like every extension featured in the Chrome Web Store, Sound Control is a one-click install. As it completes, you’ll see a shiny new icon hit your extension bar. It’ll be a Pandora-themed play button. Click it once and, if Pandora is not yet active in a tab for you, it will be. If you don’t see it, look a little closer to notice it’s a pinned tab (meaning it should dock to the left of standard, unpinned tabs). Music will immediately begin to play from the last station you were listening to. Click the icon once again to pause streaming.
Now click the icon twice. A mini player should pop out beneath the extension bar.
This small window honestly gives you every single feature that the entire Pandora tab does, except in a much more compact interface. From here you can adjust your volume, like or dislike a song, control the basic playback features, and change stations. It also shows the track that is currently being played.
Now let’s click on Options.
The main functionality here is being able to change what happens with the extension when you click the icon multiple times. You can set multiple clicks to skip a track, thumbs up or down, or activate the browser tab (aside from the options already selected).
You’re also able to change what type of tab is automatically opened, and if you click that dropdown box then you’ll notice a Hidden option! We finally have our tab space back (although the tab and process assigned to it still remains active but invisible to the eye). Song notifications will show what song is being played as a small browser popup. Ad volume allows you to reduce the sound when ads are being played or just completely mute them altogether.
While it’s not hotkeys or a standalone client, SoundControl definitely makes using Pandora easier for the average (free) user. Clicking into that tap every few minutes can get very frustrating, and this extension sits as a pretty solid remedy. What do you think of SoundControl? Let me know in the comments!
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