Google Play Music is Getting a Major Refresh

Posted on November 14, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos with 23 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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  1. 1 | Reply
    dcdevito Alpha Member #220 - 2 months ago

    I still insist this is the best music service available, because for $15 (5 family members) we get the music service plus ad-free YouTube and YouTube Music - it's a great triple-headed service. 

  2. 0 | Reply
    Vuppe Alpha Member #1076 - 2 months ago

    Haha. Paul, I feel you on the "for some reason." I have Groove and Google Music, but Google Music gets me YouTube Red and I have the beta rate, so I guess that's good.

    I may have to check it out when my Pixel arrives. If it arrives. FedEx is horrible. But I use Groove on all my Windows 10 PCs Xbox One, so I doubt I'll switch.

    Thanks for the tip!

    1. 0 | Reply
      anchovylover Alpha Member #875 - 2 months ago
      In reply to Vuppe:

      For me it's a no brainer. Youtube Red which includes Google Play Music is an excellent deal! Why would anyone use something else unless emotionally invested into another ecosystem? 

  3. 0 | Reply
    brucebaker Alpha Member #258 - 2 months ago

    This is currently the Best music value out there. 


  4. 0 | Reply
    RonH Alpha Member #149 - 2 months ago

    Doesn't work on windows?

    1. 0 | Reply
      Dan Alpha Member #291 - 2 months ago
      In reply to RonH:

      Uhh, use the web page?

    2. 0 | Reply
      wolters Alpha Member #390 - 2 months ago
      In reply to RonH:

      This is more of a "wrapped" app but it works well and is compatible with media keyboards: 

  5. 0 | Reply
    wolters Alpha Member #390 - 2 months ago

    Like Paul, "for some reason", I pay for 3 services: Google Music, Groove and Amazon Unlimited. All 3 have their merrits but since my mobile word is Android and home has Echo's, I tend to me more Google and Amazon. I MAY let my Groove expire this April. I do like it's desktop app and XBOX app but just kind of hard maintaining 3 services. 

    1. 2 | Reply
      ponsaelius Alpha Member #1328 - 2 months ago
      In reply to wolters:

      This is the problem with Microsoft's retreat from mobile. Now people have Android phones the Google services become more of a logical extension.

    2. 0 | Reply
      bleeman Alpha Member #196 - 1 month ago

      In reply to ponsaelius:

      I have both Groove and Amazon via my Prime account.  I primarily use Groove on all my Windows devices, as well as on my Galaxy Note 5.  My only complaint is that the Android version of Shazam doesn't have a link for Groove like it did on my Nokia 1520.

    3. 0 | Reply
      Dan Alpha Member #291 - 2 months ago
      In reply to ponsaelius:

      Your Xbox Live Membership should include Groove as free parking. As it stands, Groove offers nothing over competing services.