Spotify's Web Player has hit the UK in beta form, doing away with the need to download a desktop or mobile app to access playlists or stream music. It's UK-only at the moment, but we're expecting it to roll out elsewhere fairly soon.
Okay, so, it turns out that the beta has been up and running for a couple of weeks already but Spotify didn't get round to telling anyone until today - so we hotfooted it over to the player and gave it the once over.
To get started, you just log-in to the website through any old web browser, which will be great for taking over the decks at parties, am I right guys? Guys? No?
Anyway. The interface will look pretty familiar to anyone who's used Spotify's excellent iPad app or recently updated iPhone equivalent; the options run down a column on the left hand side, while the main bits and pieces are housed on the right.
At the moment your options are limited to search, what's new, radio and playlists, with all the nifty social bits and pieces yet to come.
Beyond that, there's a final column that plays permanent host to what's now playing (and an ad for Spotify's iPhone app which, we assume, will be replaced with social stuff like the ticker feed of what your friends are listening to like in the desktop programme).
Hit search, and the box pops up over the top of whatever tab you have open at the time but hit enter and it takes you to the results in the main browsing column.
As with the iPad app and desktop version, you'll see artists, albums and playlists that match your search term (hello, Aswad) as well as a list of tracks that you might have meant.
Picking either 'artists' or 'albums' sees the tab sweep over to the left and another browser window swoop in with all the artists you may have been searching for.
Back to the list of songs, and you can get playing direct from the search results - with nothing more than a double tap you can be enjoying the sweet sounds of Aswad's seminal '90s pop reggae hit Shine.
From here you can also star the song (and why wouldn't you?), add it to a playlist or copy the Spotify URL to send it to all your nearest and dearest (and why wouldn't you?).
Shine only lasts 3 minutes and 40 seconds, so you'll want to queue up some more pop-reggae to enjoy by opting for the radio option from the search results too. Hello Big Mountain, it's been a while.
You can do all the same things from the artist page too, where you'll also see top tracks, related artists and a biography option (Will Smith's birthday: September 25 1968 - pop it in your diary).
Spotify has 'start radio' buttons in as many places as it can cram them in, perhaps a hint at its struggle to improve music discovery on the service. It has big plans for this coming later this year when it will allow you to 'follow' celebrities, journalists and peers that you aren't friends with on Facebook so you can pass their music tastes off as your own.
When that happens, you'll be welcome to follow us. As you can see, our taste is flawless.
For now, though, there's very little social integration in the Web Player. The best you can do is toggle sharing what you're playing on Spotify to Facebook on and off. But this is a beta version, so we'd expect the friend ticker and other social shenanigans to land at some point over the course of the year.
Given that it's a beta version there are a few bugs to contend with too - sometimes we'd select a playlist but it wouldn't show up in the main window and some of the TechRadar team couldn't run the player in Chrome, while others could.
We're also lamenting the lack of playlist folders given that this reviewer recently spent a good two hours arranging hers into a sensible order. You also can't use your computer's play/pause/skip buttons to control playback and you have no way of choosing a streaming quality or choosing crossfade or gapless playback as you do in the apps.
As for the quality - it's not the best. Through headphones it's fine but if you were to crank it up and spin a playlist at a party we wouldn't be surprised if guests left in disgust. We've asked Spotify what the bitrate actually is but we're anticipating something fairly low.
Also missing for now is the offline mode that you get in both the desktop and mobile apps so you'd better hope your Wi-Fi holds up for that fairly quiet shindig you plan to dominate with your best dance hits of the '90s playlist.
So rather than Spotify Web Player, we'd just call this Spotify Light - plenty of bits are missing which may yet come to the player and it's sure to prove a great option for Chromebook users (all eight of you) and anyone on a mobile device that doesn't have a native Spotify app and wants to bust out the tunes at a moment's notice - that's if they're not already paid-up Rdio members, whose web app comes with all the social shenanigans you could dream of.
For everyone else, there's always the desktop and mobile Spotify apps to fall back on.