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Google Play Music gets prettier and more intelligent

The search giant will serve playlists based on where you are and what you're doing.
Matt Brian, @m4tt
11.14.16 in AV
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It's long overdue but Google Play Music is getting a makeover. The search giant confirmed today that it is in the process of updating its Android, iOS and Web offerings with bright new UI that relies on machine learning to deliver what's relevant to you. Its AI-like algorithms will identify where you are and what you're doing, also factoring in things like the weather, to serve up playlists and track recommendations that you didn't know you wanted but capture your mood at the time.

"When you opt in, we'll deliver personalized music based on where you are and why you are listening — relaxing at home, powering through at work, commuting, flying, exploring new cities, heading out on the town, and everything in between," Google says in a blog post. "Your workout music is front and center as you walk into the gym, a sunset soundtrack appears just as the sky goes pink, and tunes for focusing turn up at the library."

Every time you refresh the new home screen, it will offer various playlists that have relevance to your past listening habits. Listen to new releases on Friday? Then it'll serve them up. The same goes for upbeat tunes just as you leave work or a collection of tracks from that new artist you've just discovered but haven't had time to catch up on. Google Play Music has also been given a useful feature that determines when you're without connectivity and automatically delivers an offline playlist based on what you've recently listened to.

Play Music is another example of Google using machine learning to improve its services. For a number of years, the company has steadily improved its algorithms to identify, index and caption photos and more recently purge your Gmail inbox of spam. With Spotify pushing personalized playlists via its 'Just For You' weekly playlist (as well as Discover Weekly) and Apple highlighting its 'For You' section, Google is treading a similar path but can call upon years of experience to deliver a streaming service that it says is "smarter, easier to use, and much more assistive."

The new features will roll out gradually this week in the 62 countries in which Play Music is available.

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