Pandora has now announced that users of its automated recommendations-based streaming music app can now set music from its massive library of sounds as an alarm via integration with Google’s Clock application. From the “Google 6.1 update,” users will be able to play a Pandora-created playlist or, for users with a premium subscription, a specific song or album instead of the usual alarm’s available via the Clock app.
The art on the background of the Clock application will switch over to album art from the song or album being played too. Options to snooze the alarm or turn it off completely will remain intact but users will also be able to tap a “Continue Playing” button to keep the jams going well beyond getting out of bed.
Getting started with the new integration
Setting up a Pandora alarm to play favorite tunes couldn’t be much more straightforward with the latest integration either but users will need to double check to make sure they have the latest version of both apps first. That can be accomplished on the Google Play Store but the app version will vary from user to user so it may be a bit difficult to tell. If the feature isn’t available yet, it should arrive relatively quickly.
From there, users need to navigate to the Clock app on their smartphone and switch over to the “Alarm” tab by tapping on it. The UI will present its usual list of alarms that have already been set up and a “plus” icon for creating new ones. Presumably, users with alarms already set up can just navigate to those and edit them by setting a new sound using the bell symbol. For a new alarm, the plus icon needs to be tapped followed by the bell icon. Pandora should appear in the options after both apps are up to date.
Recently played Pandora-generated stations can be chosen and users will also be able to browse through playlists if they don’t happen to be a premium subscriber. That includes lists expressly suited for early morning listening such as ‘Morning Hits Radio’, ‘Morning Hip Hop: Rise and Grind Radio’, or ‘Country Breakfast Radio’. Of course, users could quickly create their own new station with songs they like to wake up to as well.
Those who have signed up for a Premium subscription -- the ongoing offer for a 60-day free trial of Pandora Premium -- can perform searches for specific playlists, albums, or songs too.
Alarms can be previewed by tapping on the selection and are saved by navigating back to the Clock application’s standard UI via the onscreen controls and then saving the alarm as normal.
Once all of the settings are in place, the next time the alarm goes off, it will play the selected content.
What does this mean for users and the future of alarms
Google's Clock application hasn't changed a whole lot over the years but is the stock clock application on a good number of Android handsets and new developments do tend to be impactful. In that same vein, chances are that most Pandora users that also set alarms have already been using the feature. That means that, pending an update via the app, not only will the new feature likely help to introduce those who haven't used Pandora to the app. It will also help those who already enjoy Pandora's services to more effectively use their Clock-based alarms how they want to.
None of that necessarily means that's the end of the story though and it may be an indication that Google plans deeper integration with music services across the board in future updates. For clarity, similar features are already present for those using the Google Home app and smart speakers or Amazon's Alexa-based smart home products but that hasn't translated over to Google's Android devices outside of third-party alarm or clock apps. So this could point to even more options in the future with Pandora users simply getting the first taste of things to come.