Google’s Play Music has been around for some time now. It acted like your standard music player with a few bells and whistles thrown in, such as being able to play stream music instead of just off of your internal storage. The app had a really nice techno-themed design as well.
As you know, Google I/O is underway. During the conference’s first keynote, the search giant has said out with the old and in with the new. Welcome to the new, vastly improved Play Music app — now a rival to Spotify and other similar services.
The first thing you’re going to notice after updating Play Music is that everything has changed. Much like Google+, and the recently updated Google Play Store, Play Music has adopted that beautiful Google Now-esque card design. While the design is a complete overhaul of that old techno-themed design, it should be quite familiar to those who use Google’s services regularly.
When you open the app, at the top left of the screen you’ll see the Play Music icon. When you tap it, you’ll be presented with a list. In that list is options like Listen Now, My Library, Playlists, Radio, and Explore. This makes it easier to enjoy your own library while making it a nice hub to explore and consume great content through the All Access radio (more on that later).
When you go to your playlists, song lists, or artist lists, you’ll notice that everything shows up as cards instead of the list view that the old version of Play Music used to use. It’s a lot nicer, cleaner, and makes the app feel a lot more natural.
One of the benefits to the new app is that once you get used to it, you’re able to swipe and slide through everything with the greatest of ease. It was a bit more complicated than that in the old version. As you can tell, everything is more colorful as well. This is a great improvement over the old app where all we really had was a dark background, and a simple list view. With this new design Play Music feels more like a media hub than your standard music player with streaming support.
When you really look at it, Play Music has about the same functionality as before — you can play music either off of your device or stream it. Nothing’s really been removed from the app — it functions just like it did before. However, all of the big changes that happened to Play Music come from all of the new features Google has packed into the app.
Google is trying to offer its users a more convenient, and immersive web experience. The search giant is essentially eliminating the need for you to use multiple native applications. That said, you can now browse music inside the Play Music app instead of having to open up the Play Store and browse for music through that instead. In other words, you don’t need two apps to get the full Play Music experience.
Play Music will also recommend new music to you based off of your playlists and radio stations. On the other hand, you’ll be shown your own music when you’re exploring new genres, music, artists, etc. It really is a seamless experience.
Another basic, but really cool feature is that you’re able to create a new radio station based on an artist in your library. In example, if you’re a fan of Bon Jovi, you’ll be able to create a radio station that will play the same music in that genre. In addition to creating radio stations based off of artists, you can also create them based off of albums, songs, and even genres.
While Play Music has a lot of new exciting features, the biggest addition has to be the new subscription service. You can purchase the all access pass for $7.99/mo if you subscribe before June 30, 2013, and after that the price will go up to $9.99 per month. For the time being, Google is calling the subscription service All Access.
Here’s how All Access works: as long as you’re subscriber, you can listen to anything that is available on Google’s Play Store, which has a very wide variety of songs with more being added everyday. For the cheap subscription fee, you can listen to every artist, song, and genre on the Play Store. Simply head on over to the artist page, and you can listen to anything you want. It’s really an awesome service so far.
The new Play Music experience is jaw dropping. The Play Music has truly become a full-fledged Google service that all music lovers can enjoy. It’s an all-around seamless experience that can be enjoyed by all, even if you don’t have an All Access pass.
Of course, having the All Access pass makes the Play Music experience even better. Being able to seamlessly blend your library with Google’s without noticing it is a job well done, I say.
Play Music will, in the future, be a great rival for the likes of Spotify and similar services. At the time being, Play Music may not seem appealing to Spotify customers as Google doesn’t have the 20 million tracks that Spotify does just yet. After launching this music streaming service though, there’s no doubt that Google will catch up in no time.