Microsoft's new visualizations, equalizer, and other Groove Music features revealed

In May, JT Kimbell, Senior Program Manager for Microsoft's Groove team, revealed to The TDL Show that the company was working on new visualizations, an equalizer, and other features for its music app. Now, after tinkering under Groove's hood, Rafael Rivera from Thurrott.com has managed to activate some of those features in the app, and shared details of what he found.

New visualization coming to Groove

The new visualizations may well be the most eagerly anticipated of the new features. Sadly, there's no sign that Microsoft is planning to resurrect the much-liked visualization that featured in its long-gone Zune media player:

Some of Zune's 'Now Playing' animations | Captured from video via MentalMinds

Zune's 'Now Playing' view (above) showed album art overlaid with text animations that included biographical data about the artists, along with a few statistics, such as how many times a song or album had been played.

'Ribbons' visualization style in Groove

Instead, Groove's visualizations will be closer in style to those that featured in Windows Media Player, with animations that react to the music being played. Rafael says that there are currently two visualization types. The first is Ribbons, which...

...creates paper-like ribbons, one for each frequency band, that stream in an implied wind synchronously with your music. And while the entire ribbon plane distorts, shifts, and floats around, the camera does its job at alternating between shots.

'Dots' visualization style in Groove

The second visualization style, shown in the image above, is Dots:

Dots, or Dottopia internally, fills the screen with particles that fly around a central but moving point, all while changing colors and performing choreographed moves. Sometimes along the way, the dots stop and show off by combining to form a representation of the current song’s album art and other graphics.

There are multiple variations for the Ribbons and Dots visualizations, with a range of animation styles and color palettes. Both sets are based on the Media Foundation Transform APIs, so it's likely that more visualization types will be added later.

New Groove equalizer

The introduction of a new equalizer to Groove will allow users to customize playback to suit their preferences, and their audio hardware.

Other features that Rafael spotted include:

  • Recommended playlists, in which two 'spotlight' playlists will be added to the Recommended page, based on your music tastes and listening history
  • More playlist customization features, allowing users to add a description, choose different cover art - including taking a photo - and even add a note with Windows Ink support
  • Streamlined playlist creation - by selecting a few genres, artists or even musical era, Groove will put together a custom mix with a range of songs based on your preferences.
  • Direct playlist and song sharing to Facebook and Twitter
  • Ability to report abusive images (for inappropriate pictures used in custom playlists)
  • Metadata editing improvements

It's not yet clear when these features will be coming to Groove, but as OnMSFT recently spotted, the very latest app preview - which is now available in the Skip Ahead ring for Windows Insiders - includes a new 'Visualizers' setting. While that setting doesn't actually do anything yet, it seems likely that Groove users won't have to wait too much longer for the new features to arrive.

Source and images: Rafael Rivera / Thurrott.com

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