Google set loose a beta update to it's namesake app this weekend, but like most updates, there's not much to see after updating. The most interesting things are only visible through the lens of a teardown, although they're mostly minor notes about topics we already know about or expect to be coming. Nevertheless, we can look forward to a new app shortcut to launch Assistant, car-specific Assistant settings, a couple name changes, and more.
Over the weekend, many of you tipped us telling us you were surprised when you launched Google Play Music and noticed a banner saying you're now eligible for the family plan and that also gives you access to the Google Play family library.
According to Google's support pages and the tips we've received, it looks like the countries that now have access to both features are these 9:
Spotify has offered its Premium for Family plan for some time now, and in May the price was dropped to $14.99 a month. Now Spotify is expanding availability to the land up north, at the same $14.99/month pricing as the United States.
If you're unfamiliar, Spotify Premium is $9.99/month for a single person. For about $5 more every month, Spotify Premium for Family allows you to have up to six individual accounts, each with all of the features the normal Premium includes. More information is available at the dedicated Family page, and you can even upgrade your existing Spotify account to keep your playlists.
After nearly a year of rumors, teardowns, a vague announcement, and a false start, Google Play's Family Library is finally going live today. It will begin rolling out over the next few days to users in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Other countries will surely join the list in time, but those will be the first. Family Library will allow up to six family members to share purchased content with each other without paying for additional copies.
We knew it was coming eventually, but just before the Google I/O keynote began, Google updated its developer documentation with more details about Family Library. Most important, we have a launch date of sorts: July 2nd. That date marks when app purchases will be shared in the Family Library by default unless the developer opts out.
For those who aren't familiar, Family Library will be a way for trusted family members to share Play Store purchases among one another. We have seen bits and pieces popping up in our APK teardowns for a while now. When it comes to video purchases, for instance, we can tell that you will be restricted to streaming the same title on only one device at a time.
A few days ago, Google announced newly revised icons for its Play-branded apps. Newsstand was the first to emerge with the updated look, but aside from very minor tweaks to a few of the icons inside the app, there wasn't anything significant to be seen. The Play Movies & TV app received a pretty similar update, again with a few minimal icon changes and the new launcher icon, but there's actually something more interesting in the teardown: new rules about streaming paid content when it's shared in the family library.
After Google announced the new icons, I insisted that AP should not post about the individual updates if those were the only changes worth pointing out.
Google announced family plans for Play Music (and YouTube Red) back in September alongside this year's Nexus lineup. The very competitively priced group subscription was made official yesterday and can be activated through the Play Music app. As it turns out, this isn't just a regular standalone subscription, but it's actually part of Google's new Family Groups that will ultimately bring app and media sharing to the Play Store.
Yes, sharing your music subscription means you're also sharing a credit card.
A pair of APK Teardowns from both the store and Play services gave away most of the details about how this system will eventually work. Read More
A fresh update of Google Play Services is headed out to our Android hardware around the world. This brings the framework package up to v8.4 and actually carries a couple of user-facing changes for us to check out. There's nothing too big, which is pretty normal for a Play services update, but there are some nice visual touch-ups for Smart Lock and a new option in the Android Auto developer options. But that's not all, a teardown shows that we're getting much closer to family organization (yes, for family sharing) and app invites will finally become useful as they can finally be sent to the people that need them most – the people right next to us.
With all of the activity surrounding YouTube Red, including a brand new YouTube Music app, it seems like a good time for a Play Music update. Version 6.1 just landed and aside from a mysterious new "Auto-offline" feature and a bit of cleanup in the Settings screen, it looks like a pretty typical bug fix release. However, the teardown tells a different story. It looks like this version also brings support for the recently announced family plans and Android Wear speaker support. As usual, we've also got a download link at the bottom if you can't wait for the apk to roll out to your account.