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Google Play Music Gets a New Look

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Google Play Music Gets a New Look

The Google Play Music app for iOS has a new, redesigned user interface. This article examines and evaluates the new look of Google Play Music.

I love Apple devices, however, their apps and services leave much to be desired. After trying Apple Music, the bugs and mediocre audio quality drove my transition to Spotify. I liked Spotify a lot, but as with Apple Music, they had some critical omissions from their music library. After learning that Google Play Music offers 35 million songs in their collection, I decided to take advantage of their free trial. I never looked back. I do think Spotify is the best app of the three, but in the end, the music is most important. The Google Play Music app is good enough. It’s much better than Apple Music.

Google Play Music offers a simple user interface that’s easy to figure out. There’s really no learning curve. Unlike Apple Music, it just works. You won’t have problems adding songs to a playlist. The recommendations are insightful.

After doing a routine update of my iPad apps, I launched Google Play Music and was surprised by a redesigned user interface. The most immediate impression is that they’re really not copying anyone. Google Play Music doesn’t have the incongruous tiles, like Apple Music’s For You screen, which is derivative of Microsoft’s live tiles design. Instead, they opted for a symmetrical grid of large rectangles. Google didn’t even copy themselves, as they’re not using their “cards” design.

How to Get the New Google Play Music User Interface

If your Google Play Music app doesn’t have the new UI, it’s time to upgrade it. Simply launch the App Store and tap on the Updates tab. Next, find Google Play Music and tap on the UPDATE button.

Update Google Play Music App

The app update will install. Tap on OPEN when installation is complete.

The New Google Play Home Screen

The new Home screen has undergone the most radical change. The typical Google card design is absent from the redesign. Instead, users are presented with large rectangular areas without borders or shadows. There’s no space between the rectangles, which is good design for a mobile app. The use of space is efficient and minimizes scrolling.

The rectangles are much bigger than the cards they replace. Each one has a different background color, inherited from the artwork. The rectangles are large enough to present information as to why the artist, album or playlist is recommended. Although the same general components are still present — recents, recommendations, predictive playlists, top albums and “I’m feeling lucky” radio — users are not overwhelmed with choices.

There’s a lot fewer suggestions on the Home screen. Each suggestion represents a higher level category. For example, the old design used to list recent activity using an array of cards. The new design simply displays one recently played piece of music. Tapping on it takes the user to the Recent Activity screen.

Unfortunately, the Home screen’s look is sequestered to only that screen. Other screens have the familiar cards, with some minor adjustments. Additional screens have yet another look. Some variation is to be expected, based on functionality, however, I feel the look could be more unified.

Search and the main menu “hamburger” button have been combined into one field, which is always present on the Home screen. If it disappears, a quick flick makes it reappear. Instead of pressing the magnifying glass button to search, users simply tap on the field, enter search criteria, and tap the keyboard’s search button. Tapping the hamburger button on the left of the search field displays the familiar main menu.

Recent Activity Screen Redesign

The Recent Activity screen is one of my frequent destinations. The screen displays any music that you have listened to recently. It enables users to freely browse and listen to music without having to add albums or songs to their library. After exploring new music, users can go to the Recent Activity screen to add music to their library or further explore the artist. It’s similar to a web browser’s history feature, with a much more attractive presentation. (continue…)

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  • Google Play Music now has a persistent navigation bar. Located at the bottom of the screen, this navigation bar allows users to quickly switch between the Home, Recents, Library and Browse screens. This UI change is a huge improvement, making it much easier to use Google Play Music.
    Google Play Music Persistent Navigation Bar
  • Music quality settings have been added to Google Play Music. Users can now select audio quality for WiFi streaming and downloads.
    Google Play Music Audio Quality Settings


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