Software engineer Ellen Kilbourne has quietly become the Microsoft Groove app whisperer. Similar to vice president of WDG engineering systems team, Gabe Aul, Kilbourne consistently reaches out to Insider and Windows users alike via her Twitter handle or forum pages to update on Groove- and other Microsoft media-related developments.
— Ellen Kilbourne (@ellenment) April 14, 2016
Today, Kilbourne reached out to the Groove community via Twitter to whet their appetites for a feature-packed update coming to the app soon. According to Kilbourne, the Groove app for Windows 10 devices will now be ‘truly universal’ and brings a handful of user-requested tweaks and additions that include:
- When unplayable tracks appear in Now Playing, we properly gray them out and jump over them without displaying an error
- We prevent you from playing unplayable content (for instance, if you are offline and try to play a streaming album we won’t try to play it, we’ll immediately tell you it can’t be played and why)
- We added extra telemetry to playback errors so that we can continue to improve the app
- We removed the app’s dependencies on Xbox Live which means you don’t need a Xbox Live account to use Groove (and sign-in is much faster and more reliable)!
- It’s easier to tell what’s happening when Groove is syncing your collection for the first time.
- You’ll see “Unknown Artists” less often in your collection because the app looks at both song artist and album artist metadata.
- The process we use to show additional metadata to what’s in your local files is 10x faster and gives better results!!
- The app defaults to Explore for search results if you have a Groove Music Pass, and you have don’t have a limited data plan.
- When viewing artists, you can view their work by albums or songs. Try it by selecting “Songs view” when viewing an artist.
- Radio stations can be started from albums and songs – the app will start the radio based on the artist.
- The app now shows your collection size at the top of the collection views.
- On mobile, background art fills the screen so that it’s seen under the system icons at the top.
- You can use ‘Refine’ to filter your collection by source (OneDrive, Pass, Purchased, On this device only).
- If something gets really out of whack in your collection, you can now choose to ‘Reset’ your cloud collection.
- We added jump list support for collection views organized by release year.
- The ‘hotlinks’ in Album Reviews and Artist bios now work on mobile.
- We added a simple lock screen setting for Continuum. We made lots of styling updates for Continuum
Interestingly, Kilbourne and the rest of the Groove team are taking a similar approach to this update as Aul and the Windows team by parsing the update through Insider rings. Previously, Groove updates landed on all devices at the same time regardless of rings or early previews. Now, it seems the Groove team would like to test out some features and additions before seeding them to every user.
This update represents another first for us – we’re publishing the update for Insiders before sending it to the Store for everyone. We’re flexing the app flighting rings for the first time and plan to push out today’s update as follows:”
- PC: Windows Insiders Fast Ring
- Mobile: Windows Insider Fast & Slow and Release Preview Rings
So, it seems as though today’s update will hit the Windows Store for Insiders first and then eventually make its way to the rest of Groove users. For Insiders (of which there are 7 million) this is fortunate happenstance of participating in the program, unfortunately, for everyone else, this seems like a tease. Hopefully, the wait times between Insider and regular user releases are short.
The update should be hitting the Windows Store later today.