Although I have warned against trusting cloud services like Google Play Music completely with your data, somewhat hypocritically the Play Music app at least still remains one of my most used Android applications. I have my entire music collection in Dropbox, but with the limited capacity of my Galaxy Nexus, I don’t want all of the music actually on the device. Still, it is nice to have the entire collection at my fingertips. As such, Google Music suits my needs quite nicely.
Anyhow, this morning while preparing for the morning drive, I noticed that the app had been updated. I didn’t notice any obvious new features until I reached my destination, and found that the Play Music notification had been changed to support the new Jelly Bean notification system. Sure enough, when I checked the changelog I found out that the main change in the latest update was Jelly Bean expandable notifications. Sure, there were some bugfixes and Google TV support fixes, but the main feature was the Jelly Bean notifications.
Now, while this isn’t huge news on its own, it did make me realize something about how Google manages Android and their own apps. I didn’t necessarily miss the expandable notification feature before the update, but I find it odd that Google waited so long after the release of Jelly Bean to make one of its own apps support a new feature. The improved notification shade is one of the bigger features in Jelly Bean, and yet not even Google itself fully supported it until months after the release.
Now, I’m sure that Google had a reason for not pushing this update out with Jelly Bean, but that really isn’t the point. Often, I’m tempted to criticize app developers and manufacturers who don’t follow Google’s guidelines, especially when big name companies make apps that look bad or don’t support core Android features. However, Google can’t say much about others not following its guidelines and integrating its features right away if it takes it months to do it itself. Obviously, the Play Music notification really isn’t that big of a deal realistically, but what I’m trying to say is that Google might benefit from being a better example to third party developers with its own apps.