An update to the Groove app on Windows 10 Insider Preview builds of Windows 10 for PCs and Mobile adds the Your Groove feature that enhances Recent plays with curated playlists that can help you discover new music, and rediscover music in your own collection.
I wrote about this coming new feature the other day, and looking at my Insider Preview-based devices this morning, I see it on Windows 10 Mobile, but not PC. I assume that will change soon. Update: After posting this article, the PC version appeared to, of course. 🙂 See below.
Anyway, it works as advertised: A new Your Groove entry replaces Recent Plays in the Groove sidebar menu, and augments that existing feature with curated playlists.
These curated playlists mostly seem to consist of music in my collection, and include such innocuous titles as “Friendly Mainstream Pop,” “Upbeat Hard Rock,” For the Party,” and the like. There are currently dozens of them, and you can easily save a copy of these playlists for editing purposes.
On the downside, there’s no real organization to these playlists—category folders would be nice—so you just have to scroll and scroll, and read and read. And the layout is poor, at least one phone: I can only see two of them at a time on screen. And I don’t see any playlists aimed at discovering particular artists, a feature that makes Spotify and Apple Music shine.
So it’s a good first step, but there is absolutely nothing to be impressed about here: Your Groove is years behind similar functionality on popular music services like Spotify and Apple Music, and until this feature works on Android or iOS, it won’t matter at all to those who want to listen to music on the go. But I had honestly expected Microsoft to just mail it in with Groove going forward, since the app and service are just so far behind the competition, and it seems sometimes like Microsoft is on the verge of giving up on its consumer services. Just peeking at what’s available elsewhere can be depressing.
So Your Groove is a welcome development, despite its basic functionality. And while I’m sure the Groove team will never have the influence to get the resources they really need to move this service beyond also-ran status, those who have been paying for a Groove Music Pass for years—literally since it was called Zune Music Pass, in my case, almost a decade—are finally seeing some small payback for our loyalty.
And in the same sense that we should appreciate that Microsoft is keeping Windows phone (in the form of Windows 10 Mobile) in the market despite its astonishing defeat, I likewise appreciate that Groove just keeps on keeping on as well, and it’s actually getting better as we move forward. And this is another nice improvement. Way overdue, yes. But nice.
In addition to providing Your Groove, the newly-released Groove 3.6.2244 adds the following changes:
- Files opened in Groove from other applications like Mail now continue to play in the background.
- Groove now skips queuing up unplayable tracks when playing an album or artist so the Now Playing queue isn’t full of unplayable tracks.
- Microsoft fixed Groove to support the ESC the keyboard shortcut to exit the full screen Now Playing experience.
- Performance issues when playing large playlists have been fixed.
- Groove will now attempt to recover from situations where playback appears to be stuck.
- Microsoft added more telemetry around playback in order to improve app quality.
- Microsoft made some changes to improve the playback reliability for Groove Music Pass content in offline situations.
Your Groove and other new Groove functionality will publicly debut in the Groove app in the Windows 10 Anniversary update when it ships on or around July 29, 2016.
Update: The PC version of Groove 3.6.2244 just appeared for me as well.
Tagged with Windows 10 Mobile