In the modern streaming wars, apps need to take big steps to set themselves apart from the competition. Apple Music has exclusives, Spotify has the most albums, and Google Play Music has always had a good app. But the latest update from Google Play Music changes that dynamic—now Google Play Music has the best recommendations for music, and it’s getting into your life to make them.
In 2015 Google bought, and promptly shutdown, Songza, a brilliant playlist curation app that would build song lists for you on the fly based on your mood and activity. While Songza’s recommendations have been worked into Google Play Music in the past, this latest update takes its playlist-building ideas to the next level. Using your location, search history, time of day, and other data the Google Play Music app will now give you contextual playlists whenever it starts up.
If it sees you’re near the office it will offer up a mix for focusing based on your previous listening habits. Making dinner? Here are smooth jams to help you nail that risotto. Oh hey, your GPS shows you’re at the gym: Let’s burn some calories with these data-picked jock jams, just for you.
Similarly to how Google apps like Now or Inbox try to make your life easier by sorting important information to the top of your email or making traffic recommendations, Google Play Music’s new focus is on helping you find exactly what you want to listen to before you know you need it. While Spotify’s Discovery playlists are great for finding new music, they’re not good at setting a mood. Google Play Plus playlists are curated based on mood and your listening habits, meaning your romantic night of Teddy Pendergrass jams won’t be ruined simply because you checked out a Florida Georgia Line song this week.
While getting used to the new Google Play Music might take some getting used to, the powerful playlist-building features introduced today are well worth the time. If you’ve always wanted a streaming music service that would stop trying to introduce you to new bands and just play the perfect song, Google Play Music might be worth a look. While this method of metadata-based playlist curation won’t appeal to people with privacy concerns, users will be able to finally find the perfect risotto-cooking soundtrack.
H/T the Verge