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Google revamps Play Music with recommended playlists based on location, time & activity

Google on Monday overhauled the interface for its on-demand streaming service, Play Music, with an emphasis on serving up playlists based on factors like location, activity, time of day, and even the weather.




The service's iOS, Android, and Web apps now feature a homescreen similar to Apple Music's "For You," with a selection of personalized content. Someone listening to music at work in the morning, for example, might see an ambient playlist for concentration, an upbeat synthpop/indie rock mix, or mellow folk music. At the gym, the homescreen might offer up high-intensity dance, metal, or industrial music.

Rather than being strictly genre-oriented though, Google's algorithms can potentially serve up new releases, or a recent favorite artist. In any event they should adapt to a person's real-world habits, and Google is promising a combination of human-curated and algorithmically-selected tracks.

The new interface follows Spotify's recent introduction of the "Daily Mix" with similarly-tailored playlists.

Another new feature in Play Music is automatic offline caching for paid subscribers. While the app is in use, it will automatically save a person's most recent songs plus some recommendations, giving it some use even in areas without a cellular or Wi-Fi signal.

A Play Music subscription is $9.99 per month for individuals, or $14.99 per month for up to six people. Some features of the app are free however, including the ability to upload and stream up to 50,000 tracks from a personal collection. In the U.S. and Canada, radio is also free.