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Google Play Music Has a Decent User Interface
All music subscription services offer a similar interface. The main screen presents a view of recommended music. You can browse screens with artists and albums. There are playlists. They even look the same, with related artists presented in circles and “…” to expand menus. It’s a good thing. Jumping from one service to another is a painless experience.
Google Play Music offers a clean, bright user interface. The screens are white and bright. The “hamburger” menu button offers a quick and easy way to access your library, settings or browse for music. I couldn’t really find any defects in the UI. There’s no erratic behavior. It all works as one would expect. It’s intuitive. They even have prominent support for AirPlay on the Now Playing screen.
YouTube plays an important role within Google Play Music. Virtually every artist page (no matter how obscure) has a collection of YouTube music videos. Playing a video opens the YouTube app, with a convenient link back to Google Play Music. Search results also display relevant YouTube videos. Although Apple Music features video content, it pales in comparison to Google’s offering.
The Apple Music UI is a buggy mess. They’re redesigning it due to well-deserved criticism. Beyond the unintuitive layout, it’s buggy. You add a song to a playlist, and it shows up three times. Sometimes it doesn’t show up at all. I’m convinced that the product was developed by summer interns. It’s really that bad. The best thing about Apple Music is the For You screen, however, it doesn’t outweigh the ham-fisted design and frustrating defects.
Spotify features a clean and intuitive user interface, however, the icons do look a little hokey. The Browse screen offers recommendations based on what you’ve been listening to. It’s neatly organized and comprehensive. It’s my favorite Spotify feature. They do recommendations better than both Apple Music and Google Play Music. I do think Google Play Music has a better looking UI. Spotify’s dark screens and amateurish icons get tiresome after a while.
Google Play Music Has a Web-Based Player
In addition to iOS and Android clients, Google Play Music offers a web-based music player. It’s excellent and easy-to-use. It’s what you’d expect from Google, a company with well-established Internet expertise. The main advantage of a web-based player is that you can use it anywhere. If you go to visit friends or family, you can access your Google Play Music account on their computer. You don’t need to install iTunes or fiddle with anything. Just login with your account and let the party begin.
Apple Music doesn’t offer a web-based player. This isn’t surprising. Their web-based endeavors tend to be weak. If you want to use Apple Music on a desktop computer, you need to install iTunes and deal with its oppressively bad user interface. I have friends who would rather have a punch in the nose than have iTunes installed on their computer. Even if they agree, it will be several minutes of fiddling before you can play music on someone else’s computer. (continue…)