Loie Favre found her way to her present passion for Android and smartphone technology after experiencing an epiphany when she held her Galaxy Note 2. From that point onwards, you can find her with her nose buried in countless Android apps and different smartphone models, and thanking her lucky stars that she gets to work at something she loves.
One of the new aspects that the Google I/O brought to the table was the new Google Play Music with its renewed appearance and functionality, thanks the innovative All Access features. As of today you can listen to streamed music that is in the Google's catalog by paying a subscription fee.
To find out all about this new service and how to use outside of the United States, take a look at today's app test review.
Smartphones used in the test: Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Required version of Android: 4.1.2
Details about the app:
Can be used with versions Android 2.2 and up
Size after installation: 20 MB
Optimized for Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean: Yes
Google Play Music functions as a cloud service for music that can be loaded with up to 20,000 songs. You can listen to it on the Internet, PC and mobile devices. You're able to stream the contents as well as download it onto different devices.
First you must log in with your Google account where you can access content in various formats: MP3, AAC, WMA, FLAC and OGG. In the app's settings you can decide which quality you'd like to stream, depending on your Internet connection.
The Google Play Music app has a completely new design with vibrant hues of yellow and orange that make it stand out from other applications like Gmail and Google Plus.
The big news is that the All Access service allows users to not only listen to downloaded music, but to the entire contents of the Google catalog. These songs retain some limitations and cannot be copied. They must be listened to exclusively on the device you used for downloading. While Google Play Music is free, the All Access service costs $ 9.99 per month in the United States. From the app's Main Menu you'll find the following options:
Now listen: An overview of the last listened album and suggestions that the apps offers which is filtered by your streamed and downloaded music.
My Library: The music from the library appears in a traditional mp3 player. This also contains songs that can be accessed remotely through the All Access functions.
Playlist: The user-created playlists and those included in the All Access subscription.
Radio: Where you can discover new artists where the user can listen to suggested songs or artists in line with their normal listening habits.
Discover: An overview of the entire Google catalog.
Social interaction with Google Play Music will definitely expand in the future. Right now you can share playlists and tracks on Google Plus that can then be listened to by other users.
Google Play Music has been renewed and is much more effective than in the past, with or without the All Access subscription. Although some features have yet to be integrated so that the app can compete with Spotify and other similar apps, the service is really well structured on Android and it's worth a try.
How to install Google Play Music Outside the U.S.
AndroidPIT doesn't take any responsibility for your actions. Here is what you need to open an valid account for All Access: a Google account and a credit card.
First you need to install Google Chrome and select "Stealthy". In the advanced options under "Configuration" → "Customized" select "USA". Now activate your All Access trial account and when you are asked to add a payment method, enter a fictitious credit card with the zip code: 10001. Enter a fake phone number and Google should validate your data. This of course only applies to trial accounts and doesn't allow actual payments.
Screen & Controls
Google Play Music is largely based on streaming and this always works well, even when you are on the go and using 3G. Sometimes interruptions happen but everything goes back to normal in a couple of seconds.
Speed & Stability
The Google Play Music app is a very well designed and comes in bright colors. You can go from one category to another by scrolling through the horizontal menu on the screen. Unlike other Google Apps, which are problematic when it comes to the controls on smartphone screens, this time we're faced with a highly functional app.
Google Play Music is free of charge and advertising. The app can be downloaded from Google Play Store. A subscription to All Access costs $ 9.99 per month in the United States.