The competition between music streaming services continues to the heat up, as they attempt to provide a more personalized listening experience. Now, Google is taking its Play Music streaming services to the next level with better recommendations, pulling data from search history, location, current activity, and even local weather. On November 14, 2016, Google began to roll out the new features and a revamped interface for Play Music on Android, iOS, and the web application.
The new changes are meant to focus on user personalization through the use of machine learning. Google has an extensive background of collecting user data through advanced algorithms. These algorithms provide better user recommendations in Google’s applications, such as Google Now, Google Photos, and most recently, Google Assistant.
Now, Google is bringing that personalized power to Play Music. Elias Roman, the Lead Product Manager for Google Play Music says, “At a high level, Google’s mission is to make the world of information really accessible and useful to people.” He continues, “There is a role for Google to play in music that is similar.”
In an attempt to get ahead of the competition, Google wishes to provide more personalized music playlist recommendations that are updated more frequently. The two lead streaming services, Apple and Spotify, offer similar personalization settings, but Google looks to gain the upper hand by taking advantage of their data collecting algorithms. Google plans to close the gap between Play Music and the leading competitors, which all offer music streaming subscriptions for $9.99 per month.
Google is now using frequency and freshness in their user-focused experience. Every time the user opens the Play Music application, they can expect a new selection of playlists to choose from. Google will base these selections on the user’s listening history, as well as the time of day, location, weather, etc. Play Music can even detect if you’re travelling and where you’ve travelled to and base recommendations off of that data.
This has always been the vision of the team behind Google Play Music, which began as a startup called Songza before being acquired by Google in July, 2014. Even as Songza, the team wanted to develop a personal experience to match the user’s mood or activity. However, the user had to manually provide that information to receive recommendations. Enter Google, who enhanced that approach by adding in the company’s massive library of user data and algorithms. This meant that the user was no longer required to manually enter that data.
Announcing Google Play Music’s new rollout, Roman concludes, “From parks to airports to bars, whether you’re walking, biking, or driving, the right music makes any moment better. With the new Google Play Music, we’re here to help with the perfect soundtrack for the things you do every day.” The new features will become available throughout the week in the 62 countries that Google Play Music is available.