Over the summer, Google bought Songza, a music streaming company that provides playlists suited for certain moods and times of day. The Big G has left the service running, but that didn't stop it from integrating the functionality with Play Music several months later. This brought recommended playlists to the "Listen Now" area of the Android app and website for listeners in the US and Canada. Now the functionality has expanded to the UK.
Anybody who owns an ADT-1 has noticed the inexplicable absence of a Play Music app, something that became even more apparent after the Nexus Player began shipping with it. Well, the wait is finally over! An update to the Play Music app began rolling out earlier today, and it includes a banner on the Leanback Launcher for those of us with Google's development hardware. If you've got a Nexus Player, you haven't been left out with this update.
Guys, it's happening (....gif). The rumored YouTube music service that we've been hearing about for months is finally a reality. It's called YouTube Music Key, and it looks pretty great.
So here's the gist: it'll cost $7.99 a month (initially, at least - the price will eventually jump to $9.99), and includes full albums, background playback, offline viewing, and no ads. No ads. It's worth eight bucks a month just to get rid of the ads.
You know those orange headphones that come pre-installed on stock Android devices? They pump tracks through a service called Play Music. It's a downright dandy offering, but it's only available in certain countries. As of now, that list has just expanded to include thirteen more.
These new additions are spread predominantly throughout Eastern Europe. Here's what Play Music looks like if you're browsing the web in Bulgaria.
Here's what the Android app looks like in Romania.
Transparency! Contrast! Colors! Freakin' circles, man!
One of the new curated Songza-style playlists is "Coding Your Face Off." Nice.
Remember when Google purchased Songza, the company, service, and app that was hitherto a minor player in the streaming music marketplace?
Continuing our journey through the new Google apps from Android 5.0 Lollipop, let's make a quick stop at Google Play Music. The update to this app has been anxiously awaited since it was demonstrated at Google I/O. And indeed, even Google's own product page for the Nexus 6 shows off some of the animations we've been salivating over for months.
The Google Play Music app found in a leaked dump of the Nexus 6 doesn't contain those animations, sadly, but it does continue the app's march toward compliance with Google's new design spec with bolder colors, new iconography, and a few touches that will set the stage for future awesomeness.
Google's Play services are gradually working their way out to more countries around the globe, and the latest expansion we've spotted is occurring south of the Equator. Google has enabled Play Music access in the countries of Brazil and Uruguay. This way users can back up their albums to Google's servers and access them from a web browser or mobile device.
All Access has technically come to both countries as well, but in the case of Brazil, there appear to be some substantial caveats.
Perhaps you recall back in 2012 when Google caught some flack for its 10-device limit on Play Music access with only four deauthorizations per year. It was forced to backpedal and allow users to deauthorize unlimited devices, and all was well with the world. Well, until now. It looks like Google has started enforcing a limit of four deauthorizations per year once again. Support docs and the Play Music settings list the limit.
Update 8/7/14 #1: Quite a few of you experienced issues with album art after updating to version 5.6.1616P. Google has now released a new update 5.6.1617P which resolves this (you can find the new APK below). You may need to clear data and restart the app if album art still doesn't show up.
Update 8/7/14 #2: Google posted the official changelog, and looks like this is also new in this release: "You can now undo tracks removed from playlists and the queue via swipe."
Google has been playing around with the Play Music interface a bit lately, but the widget hasn't been keeping pace.