Google Play Music design overhauled, machine learning for better discovery

Gus Lubin for Business Insider:

Play Music’s latest update blows up the concierge in favor of a new array of recommendations that pull from not only relevant activities (e.g., “focusing”) but also recent listening and recommended classics, new releases, and customized stations. In short, it’s pulling from a much wider range of sources. It’s also getting more use out of Play’s carefully curated stations, many of which where buried in some dark corner of concierge.

And the whole thing adjusts based on context, giving you different recommendations on your phone, on your computer, at the gym, and in the office.

[…]

The new Play Music is not only smart but also wonderfully simple, putting it all on one neat page. If you scan the recommendations without seeing anything that excites you, you can always click “I’m Feeling Lucky Radio” for a unpredictable custom radio station based on something it knows you like. Not feeling that, and you can sort by new and top releases, create custom radio stations, and more.

Google Play Music has long been my music streaming service of choice and it just got even better. This is a great update, both aesthetically to the design of the service and technically to helping find that next great song or album too.

Also mentioned in this piece:

Spotify has excellent playlists, including the personalized Discover Weekly, and it’s great at surfacing hot new music—and for some that will make it the best. It remains a step behind Play Music on contextual recommendations, however, and if you ask me, it’s lagging in interface too, especially after Play’s update.

Apple Music? It has a clunky interface, even after a big update, with often contrived playlists.

Nailed it.

It’s not about who has the better library of songs anymore. They’re all practically identical. Now, it’s all about how easy it is to navigate and bring the most relevant music to the surface. I’ve switched back and forth through the different services over the past year or so and, as mentioned, Google’s interface, features, and ease of use have for a long time made it the clear winner in my books. Now, with this new update, it’s not even close.

After spending some time with the new Google Play Music interface, i’ve noticed a fairly major issue. On the mobile app, it’s become much harder to specifically have new albums surfaced than it is custom radio stations. I’ll get the occasional new release but otherwise it’s entirely radio stations built around my habits. As someone who rarely used the radio feature prior, this doesn’t really fit my routine. It’s not the end of the world, as I use the desktop player most often as well as the “feeling lucky” playlist generator, but definitely something i’d want to see addressed in a future update.