Ahead of the public release of Android 12, Google is seemingly giving every app it can a Material You makeover. After Google Phone, Calculator, and Clock, the big G has now turned its attention to YouTube Music and is working on a Material You widget revamp for it.
Google's introduction of the branded YouTube Music service, and its cold-blooded murder shutdown of the older Google Play Music service, hasn't been all that smooth. But apparently it's been profitable. Google's Global Head of Music for YouTube, Lyor Cohen, says that the service now has 50 million subscribers across the various options.
For a second there, it looked like Google was just about done with Wear OS. That was until the roadmap started unfolding with plans for, among other things, a new YouTube Music app and, later on, the big reveal of new Samsung smartwatches running the platform. Today, the plot has finally culminated with the soft launch of the new YouTube Music for the Galaxy Watch4 series.
The adverts interspersed between YouTube videos can get very obnoxious, so much so that I pay the Premium subscription to get rid of them. Unfortunately, this includes a lot of other stuff that I don't really need but am still paying for, like YouTube Music (I prefer Spotify for that). Thankfully, Google is currently testing a new "Premium Lite" tier that could improve the situation for anyone in the same boat.
Google is doing everything it can to improve YouTube Music and bring it out of its predecessor's shadow, adding new features and tweaking existing ones. Now Google is testing a library tab to help you find the music you're looking for, but there's a limit to how useful it can be in its current guise.
There's nothing better than jamming out in the privacy of your own car (until you hit a red light and realize everyone in the cars around you noticed). Android Auto makes it easy to sort through your favorite playlists, albums, and more, but if the interface isn't straightforward and simple, it can take your eyes off the road. YouTube Music's current UI looks pretty dated, but a new design is starting to appear for some users.
After years of stagnant updates, Google has finally refocused its efforts on wearables. A new platform for Wear OS is launching later this year in partnership with Samsung, and Google is bringing several of its apps to your wrist for the first time. YouTube Music is finally coming to Wear OS, though you'll have to keep waiting for its official launch.
Do you remember when YouTube Music was first introduced? Without the help of a Google search, I'd guess 2019 or maybe 2018... and I'd be off by a few years. The service dates back to 2015, but it didn't catch on in popularity until Google introduced the paid subscription plan, expanded its availability to dozens and dozens of countries, and eventually sacrificed Google Play Music at its altar. The app's download numbers have subsequently soared on the Play Store and have now reached the coveted 1 billion milestone.
You may have heard that Sonos and Google are involved in a dispute over patent infringement in the US, with Sonos claiming that the search company used its power to steal intellectual property when they first partnered up. The legal debate isn't limited by borders, though. Sonos also brought Google to court in Germany, where it has managed to enforce a preliminary sales ban of a whole bunch of Google products using the Cast protocol.