Google Play Music already has a bigger music library than Spotify, its design is very much user-friendly, and there is lots of new music coming to the app regularly, but the app still has some problems.
For instance, radio playlists contain songs that tend to repeat, stations don’t offer enough variations in genres, songs, and artists; the app can be slower than a snail at times. The optimization issues won’t be fixed with the new update, but poor playlist contents and below-par quality of recommendations could finally disappear.
The app is updating both on mobile devices and on the web. While it looks pretty much the same when you start it on your smartphone, the web app received a major facelift. Instead of focusing on your recent plays, the web app now puts your recent activity in a thin line on top of the interface. The main part of the home screen is a huge recommendation list, based on your recent music played, your favorite music genres, radios you played, bands and songs you like (that got a thumbs up), and other variables.
The list is comprised out of several blocks, each one bringing recommendations in the form of radio stations, songs, albums, new releases, and artists. While it might be lees accurate at the start, the new recommendation system gets better the more music you listen to, since it’s based on machine learning. Google also hired teams of music experts, so there’s also a human factor in making new radio stations and playlists.
Another new (or better to say improved) feature is the new way of caching music for listening offline. Before, you had to make playlists in order to save music online. Right now, you can download whole albums, but for downloading a couple of songs, first you must gather them in one playlist, save it, and only then download it to your mobile device. The new storage system is based on your listening habits. It caches recently played music, and also predicting which music will be played in order to cache it offline before it gets played. Although it sounds neat, the good old full album download is still a better choice. The web app is already updated, while the mobile app is shipping in waves, so it won’t be available right now. You’ll have to wait up to a couple of days, depending on your region.