How Google is planning to use your location to create the perfect playlist

Can location information and context awareness help improve your playlist?


Spotify has its curated playlists, Apple Music has its exclusives and Google Play Music? Google Play Music has Context awareness.

Google has turned to its biggest strength in a bid to compete better with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music. The company has announced the launch of a new version of its Music app that will use machine learning and context awareness to figure out not only what songs you might like (Spotify does it so well) but also include contextual information i.e. your location, the activity you are engaged in and the weather to better personalise the playlist.


…Google Play Music uses machine learning to figure out what music you like and then mixes in signals like location, activity, and the weather along with hand-picked playlists to personalize music for wherever you are and whenever you want tunes. Starting this week on AndroidiOS and the web, the new experience will roll out globally (62 countries, to be precise). – Elias Roman, Lead Product Manager, Google Play Music 

Spotify has arguably the best personalised playlists; their Discover Weekly and Release Radar features are two of the many features that I love when using the app. Spotify and other music apps including Apple Music that serve up personalised playlists use machine learning to figure out what music you might like based on your behaviour i.e. if you like listening to Adele, chances are that you will also like Sam Smith (yup, i just looked up my suggestions) but the biggest difference between this and Google’s latest update is – your location and activity.

Location Privacy?

By location, Google isn’t going to provide you songs that are trending in your country,  it plans to use it to “personalize music for wherever you are”. Sitting in an airport? Maybe you would be like to listen to some relaxing songs. Working out in the gym? Okay, lets pump up the beats then!

Remember that this music provider is Google, a company that has been working to increase its stockpiles of data on its users – most recently, by a privacy policy change that allows it to combine your personal info collected by Google services with DoubleClick cookie information for increasingly targeted, highly personalized ads. – TechCrunch

On one hand, its amazing to note that location and context awareness can help create the perfect playlist and is probably one of the most visible apps where Google’s Activity Recognition API is being used (Related:  Google’s Activity Recognition API is awesome but where are the apps? [Nov, 2015]) but naturally all of this raises concerns about data and location privacy. Google lets users opt-out of location tracking, if they wish to and if you are concerned about your location privacy, you must definitely make use of the opt-out.

But its still a pretty cool feature (barring the obvious privacy concerns) and its definitely  worth trying out just to see what music it decides to play when and where.

From parks to airports to bars, whether you’re walking, biking, or driving, the right music makes any moment better. With the new Google Play Music, we’re here to help with the perfect soundtrack for the things you do every day. After all, the only thing better than finding the perfect music is the perfect music finding you. – Elias Roman, Lead Product Manager, Google Play Music 

SOURCEGoogle Blog
I am one of those passionate "Geo-geeks" and "Geo-people" who is just too excited about everything Geo and Management. Location information and spatial technologies are just too big to take a back seat and watch them revolutionize the world. Always curious and looking for ways to innovate, I guess that it comes naturally by the gene pool I inherited from an engineer Mom and a researcher Dad.