Google Play Music is Getting a Major Refresh

Posted on November 14, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos with 25 Comments

Google Play Music is Getting a Major Refresh

This week, Google Play Music for Android, iOS and the web is getting a major refresh, with a new user experience and new personalization capabilities.

“Today we’re introducing the new Google Play Music, a fresh take on our music streaming service that is smarter, easier to use, and much more assistive,” Google Play Music lead product manager Elias Roman writes in a new post to the Official Google Blog. “Google builds tools that help you make the world of information more accessible and useful. And at Google Play Music, we strive for the same.”

Since Google Play Music is one of three music services I’m currently paying for some reason—the other two are Microsoft Groove and Spotify—I’m curious to see how the changes impact the experience. Today, Google Play Music offers a straightforward if pedestrian design. But from the screenshots Google has provided, it looks like the new version more closely resembles Apple Music and Spotify now.

Or, as Google puts it, Google Play Music now “has a brand new home screen built just for you.” The bigger deal, apparently, is that Google is using machine learning to improve the experience. It figures out the music you like and then “mixes in signals” like location, activity, and the weather and matches them with the perfect playlists.

“We’ll deliver personalized music based on where you are and why you are listening — relaxing at home, powering through at work, commuting, flying, exploring new cities, heading out on the town, and everything in between,” Roman explains. “Your workout music is front and center as you walk into the gym, a sunset soundtrack appears just as the sky goes pink, and tunes for focusing turn up at the library.” (Yes, it’s opt-in, and you will need a Google Play Music subscription for any of this to really make sense.)

This personalization extends to your offline experiences too, apparently: Google Play Music will automatically download an offline playlist that is based on what you like most so you always have something to listen to.

So … we’ll see. I like Google Play Music as it stands right now. But I could see these changes being as disconcerting as they are useful.


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