Google Play Music Gets a New Look and Songza's Suggestion Superpowers

By Mario Aguilar on at

Today, Google Play Music gets smarter about the suggestions it offers, by taking into account the time of day, day of the week, and device you're using. So when you're dragging at the end of the work day, you get just the jams you need to get through it.

You might recognise that the new contextual suggestions are inherited from Songza, the music service Google acquired last summer. Like the Songza Concierge, Google Play Music will now let you pick from a couple of likely situations it thinks you might be in, and guides you to music to fit the mood. So for example, it's late "Late Tuesday morning" and I'm working, so I get a playlist suggestion based on that. (Currently, I'm listening to a curated Songza playlist called "Fun & Funky Pick-Me-Ups.")

The big difference is that because the new tool is baked into Google's subscription service, you'll be able to see the upcoming tracks and re-order or remove songs, which isn't possible on Songza because of the free service's restrictive contracts with record labels.

The concierge will show up right when you arrive at Google Play Music on the Listen Now tab, which is designed to be the fastest way to get from launching the service to hearing songs.

In addition to the new concierge, the service will be getting an overhaul to fit into the new Material Design language the company introduced over the summer and is rolling out with Android Lollipop. There will also be some little tweaks to the UI. For example, specific suggestions will now come with a justification for why you're getting them. So when Google suggests The Kinks, it'll tell me it's because I've been listening to a lot of Rolling Stones.

Contextual suggestions are about to start getting really good across music services as they each get better at parsing the troves of user data they've got. In general, I like Google's efficiency based approach to music: The service is designed to get you from login to music in as few clicks as possible. And with better contextual suggestions, the hunt for music is only going to go faster. [Google]