Google Play Music

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Google Play Music

Google Play Music is a good option if you're using Google's cloud services to store your music. Otherwise, not really.

3

Our rating: 

3

Pros & Cons:

"Home" screen; good now playing screen; small memory footprint; upload 50 000 tracks to the cloud for free
not many settings or options available; some features missing

Summary:

Google Play Music is specifically designed to work with Google's cloud services, and it does that job decently well. Otherwise, there isn't too much exciting about this music player. Also, if you're interested in the cloud, this app will let you upload 50 000 tracks to Google's servers for free.

Our Review:

Google Play Music is actually a service for buying music, and is part of Google's Play system. This app is basically meant to tie in with the Google Play Music service, and it doubles as a music player - but in its recent incarnations, it's been pushing Google's music service more and more. Ever since Android 4.1, it's been bundled with most Android phones. It also has a good tablet interface - so if you have an android tablet, you can give it a try there.

The albums, artists, songs, and genres sections work as expected. They've shoved in a radio stations section into there, which I won't be getting into here - and you can simply ignore that tab if you don't want to use it. One interesting feature is that if you choose a track, for instance, you can find the corresponding artist or album. The playlist functionality doesn't have anything new, with a "last added" playlist, and the "thumbs up" playlist, both of which I'll get to later.

You can "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" a song. Thumbs up adds it to the "thumbs up" playlist, and I'm not sure what "thumbs down" does, other than play the next track.

One of the only unique features in Google Play music is the "Home" feature, which used to be the "Listen Now" feature "Listen Now" feature (yes, it's called that again). It used to have all sorts of online music suggestions - which used to play as radio stations à la Pandora - now it just shows a collection of recently played or added tracks as well as a "shuffle all" button. The recents list has been given its own entry in the menu that you get at by swiping from the left of the screen, essentially the same thing as the "last added" playlist, which is as inaccurate as it's seemingly always been, showing things I've had in my library for ages. It also has an "instant mix" feature which, update after update, never works, at least for me. In the latest update, it also makes the now playing screen show the wrong track after telling me that it couldn't start the instant mix. Come on, Google! So many updates have passed and you still haven't fixed this!

The app generally takes up under 30MB RAM when playing music in the background, and generally doesn't run in the background when it's not needed.

What's interesting for some is that is has Chromecast support, so if you have a Chromecast, it might be worth giving Google Play Music a look.

There aren't all too many settings related to music playback, just a few basics plus a sleep timer. It's better than it once was, but it could still be more. You have an equalizer there - you can add some effects, but only apply predefined profiles for the equalizer. they've finally added a custom setting, but I can't adjust the levels - plus, it doesn't seem to work over bluetooth headphones. Really, Google? You're selling phones that don't have a headphone jack, and you can't get your darned app to support bluetooth properly? A facepalm just doesn't cut it here.

Oh, and I just figured out that it won't play some of my flac files. Google, just... UGH!

What may be interesting to some is that you can upload up to 50 000 tracks to Google's cloud for free so that you can access those tracks from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to be tied to this music player considering the other, much better music players there are out there.

Coming from Google, I was expecting more, but aside from that, it's an OK (well, maybe OK at best) app - and you also have the radio stations as an added bonus. On the other hand, Google, just... what the heck. It's kind of a let down to review, because it doesn't ever seem to improve. Period.


Google Play Music was reviewed by on based on version 8.14.7429-1.H.