Gaana.com, an online Indian music portal which was earlier available only on flash enabled browsers, has launched a slick HTML5 web app for iPad. The site features an impressive catalogue of Bollywood and Indipop music along with a small number of international tracks as well. The service tries to fill the void that the absence of services like Pandora and Spotify in India have created.
The website presently has a user base of 1.4 million listeners and plans to increase this through the iPad web app. Like its flash based counterpart, the iPad web app is equipped with standard features like search, personalised playlists, recommendations, top songs and favorites. The service lets you create an account using your Facebook or Twitter credentials, which would then allow you to save playlists for listening on other devices.
The web app also works in the background thanks to Safari’s background audio feature. It is however buggy and may interrupt at times. Nonetheless the site tries to bridge the divide between web apps and native apps, like Amazon tried to do with the Kindle Cloud Reader.
Times Internet Limited, the company behind Gaana.com, plans to make the web app available for all tablet devices very soon. Presently the web app works only on the iPad.
All you folks who don’t have an iPad and would like to listen to Gaana.com on your iPhone, read on for a way to do that. Gaana.com’s reliance on the user agent string to check whether the device is an iPad, makes bypassing this check really easy. All you need is a third party browser that lets you spoof your user agent to an iPad, thus fooling the site into loading the web app on your iPhone.
You can use an app like iCab Mobile (iTunes link) that lets you change the user agent through a “Browser ID” option in the settings (Tools -> Browser ID) to iPad, to load the web app 0n the iPhone or even iPod Touch. Since the interface is optimised for an iPad, the experience on your iPhone’s small screen isn’t all that smooth, but features like background playback works fine.
So all you fans of Bollywood music, head over to Gaana.com on your iPad (or you iPhone) to stream you favorite tracks, and tell us how it goes.
(For those of you who are curious, “gaana” means a song in Hindi)