Jango Steps Up to Compete with Pandora

Personalized free radio service Jango launched its public beta on Monday. Using a single artist as a "seed," the site generates a list of similar artists, which the user can be tailored to his or her preferences and create "stations" to share with others...Sound familiar?

If Jango does show a difference from the Music Genome Project's Pandora, it's in the social networking aspect, though it may be slightly less developed than it is on Last.fm. Users create their stations and profile, meeting like-minded friends in the aptly-named "Like Minds" category. Users can see who is listening to their stations live, and communicate with them via "thank you" notes.

An immediate annoyance with the site is the tendency for browsers that are not Firefox to randomly crash when using Jango. Users, however, are warned of this upon signup.

Presently, Jango is browser-based only - or FireFox based, if you like - but after its public launch, it plans to introduce a mini-player and a Facebook and MySpace embeddable "Jango Jukebox" widget. Fortunately, the site is noticeably faster than Pandora, and signup currently requires no confirmation, making casual use almost immediate.

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