Google Play Music update adds small interface tweak, prepares for bigger things

You may only notice the new play buttons on lists, but the latest code has references several upcoming features.

Google Play Music is rapidly becoming one of the best music apps and subscription services around. It's got a huge music library, podcasts, a good feature set, and an ever-improving interface. Plus, your unlimited music subscription ($10 per month, $15 for a 6-person family plan) also gets you access to YouTube Red.

Google's now rolling out a new version of the app, and it appears to make a single, simple interface tweak. If you're looking at any sort of list, like all the albums from a band or all the search results for "metal", you'll now see little Play buttons on the square album or playlist artwork. It just saves you a tap from having to open the album, playlist, or podcast before you start playing it.

play music update

Left: The old interface, sans Play buttons. Right: The new interface, which gets you rockin' faster.

That one change alone isn't really a big deal. Sure, these little improvements are welcome, but it's what might be coming down the pike that has us interested. The sleuths at Android Police have dug into the code buried in the new APK and discovered references to a number of features that might be enabled in future updates.

Do you like to listen to music while you fall asleep? Good news, it looks like a sleep timer is on its way. There's a reference to a "headphone notification," which could be a way for Play Music to offer up a suggested playlist or album when you plug in your headphones. That way, you can start listening without hunting for and launching the app. There's also a mysterious reference to a setting that might let you resume a track that was interrupted.

The Play Music update is rolling out now through the Play Store. If you haven't given it a whirl, you should: it's a great music service. And be sure to check out our Google Play Music tips.

The story behind the story: Google Play Music isn't nearly as popular as Spotify, Pandora, or Apple Music. Which is a shame, because it's definitely competitive, and worth a look. While everyone pays attention to those other big streaming music services, Google has been improving its offering, adding new features like podcasts and steadily improving the interface.

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