Yesterday marked day one of Google’s 2013 I/O even in San Francisco. Along with many other announcements including an overhaul to Google Maps and Google’s new unified messaging app Hangouts, the multicolored software giant unveiled its new music streaming service, Play Music All Access. All Access will offer users unlimited streams to Google’s massive cloud based music library for $9.99/month or $7.99 if you sign up for a one month free trial before June 30th.
To begin with Google has completely renovated the traditional Play Music interface. Instead of showing a descending text-based list of artists, Google has opted to show side-by-side artists, with photos of whatever band you might be interested in listening to. You can also access albums which essentially has the same interface it used to. Additionally there is a menu that swipes over from the left side that give various options, including Explore, which shows music that Google recommends to you.
Once you’ve chosen an artist to listen to, Play music will first show which albums are in your library, scroll down a bit and you will see top songs by that artist, all albums by that artist, and related artists all in Google’s music library.
If you want to look for a song, album, or artist that is not in your library, you can simply search through Google’s to find what your looking for. From there, or from any song in your or Google’s library you can begin playing a radio station much like Pandora.
From what I’ve seen so far the new layout of Play Music is clean and it works. I’m not sure if at this point I would say it is better than the previous version as I preferred a text-based list view of artists, and you can’t really change that. But I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
To make a long story short, Play Music All Access works as it is intended to. Google has created something that should certainly rival Rdio and Spotify, and the fact that it came before Apple’s streaming service should bode well for Google. The new Play Music with All Access is available now, and updates for Android devices should be rolling out now.