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I love it when MakeUseOf readers suggest new apps and programs to me. With every article I write, I’m just waiting for all of those comments that point me in new directions and expand my own library of cool software. That’s how I stumbled across this cool new Android app that will surely come in handy at future parties – Music Pool.
For those of you that don’t know (which is probably 99% of you since this app is so new and hidden), Music Pool is an app that lets you sync up your Android device with other Android devices nearby, using those devices as extra speakers to amplify your music. Instead of having a flat song playing from just your phone, you can play it simultaneously from multiple phones in order to create a surround sound experience.
Sounds cool, doesn’t it? I was a bit skeptical at first, but having taken a closer look at the app, I’m surprised at its design and how well it works.
The very first impression that I got was… unimpressed. The aesthetics for Music Pool are absolutely horrendous: it’s just two big buttons with a bunch of text beneath it. And what about that color scheme? It’d be hard to intentionally make it worse. However, beneath all of that ugliness, Music Pool is a fine app indeed.
The yellow text is a simple text box that gives instructions on how to use the app. Fair enough. The green text is your current “Nickname” which is something that’ll come in handy later on. Otherwise, Music Pool is split into two functions: Playing and Listening.
In any group of Music Pool devices, one should be the Player while the rest should be Listeners. The Listeners will sync with the Player and play the audio in unison.
So what sort of audio can a Player play? Anything that’s available on your device, pretty much.
The playback for Music Pool is called the Music Chooser. With it, you can toggle various albums, artists, songs, and playlists that are already on your device. Once you’re satisfied with your selections, you can hit Play Music to start streaming your music as a Player.
If we’re to be honest, the music playback control is a bit rusty. However, we should keep in mind that Music Pool is quite young and still has a lot of development ahead (as long as the creator keeps up with it). But even if it isn’t the most feature-perfect playback app, it’s usable enough that I don’t have any dealbreaking complaints.
Remember how I mentioned “Nicknames” back on the main Music Pool screen? That nickname is how a Listener can find and connect with a Player. If a Listener knows the nickname of a Player, then they can directly connect while the Player is active. Simple enough, right?
But Music Pool has another option that uses a map to locate Players nearby. Fat chance that you’ll coincidentally find another Player currently running (since this app remains an unknown), but if you do, you can use the map feature to connect to them and sync up with their audio.
In terms of ease-of-use, Music Pool gets it right. Nickname connection is smart and it gets the job done quick.
Lastly, Music Pool is sparse when it comes to customization. If you want to change your Player nickname to something more memorable or easier to type, you can do that here. You can also toggle the map feature for finding other Players.
The other two options in the settings menu weren’t very useful and I found no difference while using them. Perhaps in the future we’ll see a lot more features and preferences to play around with.
And that’s about it. I’ve never encountered another app like Music Pool, so as far as I know, it’s the first of its class. It’s a very cool concept, too – especially useful when you want to pump some music with your friends but no one has a portable sound system. Give it a try and let us know how it goes!