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Recent activity displays albums that you have just listened to, browsed or added to your library. It’s a great way to get back to music you were previously enjoying. Tap the “MORE” button to view all of your activity.
The “Recommended for you” section begins with “I’m feeling lucky radio”. It’s a radio station based on your listening habits. If you are having a hard time finding something to listen to, I recommend starting “I’m feeling lucky radio”. From there, you may find an artist or album you’d like to hear more of. The “Recommended for you” section provides other artist-based stations and album recommendations based on your listening habits.
Google Play Music is search-oriented. Given that Google has tremendous expertise when it comes to search, this feature is excellent. It’s really one of the best ways to navigate Google Music. Simply tap the magnifying glass icon on the top right of the screen and enter your search criteria. The search results appear as you type, just like with Google’s web search engine. Results are weighted toward recent activity, which makes the search feature a convenient way to navigate Google Play Music. Instead of drilling down into your music library, I recommend just using search instead. It’s faster and the search button is available on almost every screen.
Settings are available from the “hamburger” menu button on the top left of the Listen Now screen. Unfortunately, it’s the only screen that has a menu button. If you have drilled down into an artist or album, you’ll need to hit the back button a few times to get back to this screen. It’s the only major design flaw I’ve experienced. As mentioned, you can use the search feature to navigate Google Play Music. With the exception of settings, search provides quick access to artists, albums and songs.
The main menu offers quick access to the Listen Now screen, top charts, new releases, your music library and radio stations. Toggling into offline mode is easily accomplished by turning on “Downloaded only”. If you don’t have an Internet connection, Google Play Music will default to this mode.
Users can also access app settings, such as cellular data, caching, account information and download management. There’s a lot more settings, so make sure to take a look at this screen.
Finding an artist, album or song is easy. Simply tap on the magnifying glass icon and start entering search criteria. The results are displayed as you type. Tapping on a search result displays a results page. From there, you can browse artists, albums, songs and videos that meet your search criteria. Tapping on the vertical “…” button pops up object-specific menus. For example, if you tap “…” next to an album, you can play it, add it to your music library, open a radio station or perform other actions.
Video content is often available for artists and albums. Make sure to scroll to the bottom of the screen. Videos are opened in the YouTube app, with a convenient link back to Google Play Music. Your Google Play Music subscription also gives you access to YouTube Red and YouTube Music.
That’s about it for the basics. There’s a lot more to Google Play Music, but once you understand the user interface concepts, you can explore and learn how to get the most out of the service. I really think Google Play Music is an excellent service. You’ll find more music than any other music subscription service. The app is well-designed, easy-to-use and robust. The actual streaming service is very reliable. After all, Google excels at Internet services. Google Play Music is no exception.