Music Discovery (B-):

  • If you use Google Play Music enough, it becomes good at predicting what you want to listen to and when on the Home tab. Occasionally, you see something interesting in the Home tab that you haven’t heard.
  • You have radio options for days, and their algorithm gets good at learning your preferences.
  • When searching through an artist’s songs, Google will show you the top 20 songs ranked by popularity.

Apps (D):

  • Google Play Music mobile app is solid and similar to Google’s other apps.
  • It’s bright white everywhere, with awkward, zoomed-in cover art.
  • If a song you’re listening to has a music video, there’s a button that will bring you to that video and pick up the song where you left off.
  • When you tap the “Identify what’s playing” button, the app starts listening to the song playing in the background and pulls it up in the search results.
  • You can’t rate songs in your library. There’s only a thumbs up and down option. That’s a smart system for radio but not for songs in your library. Why would I ever thumbs down a song in my own library?
  • I hate not having a desktop app because you have to keep a browser tab open all of the time and you can’t listen offline while on your computer. Google’s servicing people who are in their ecosystem (Android phones and Chromebooks).
  • You can share playlists by making them public, but it’s seamless, like Spotify or Apple Music.

Compatibility (C):

Library (C):

  • When you click on an artist, it doesn’t show you the songs saved in your library until you scroll to the bottom. It’s a strange method which takes too much effort.
  • It’s hard to distinguish what’s available for offline listening.
  • You can add up to 50,000 songs from your personal library to mesh with your Google Play Music library. This is huge if you have music that’s mislabeled, unreleased or from an artist who’s unavailable with streaming.

Bonus (C):

  • There’s a free radio version (with ads).
  • You no longer get YouTube Red (now Premium) with your purchase.
  • There’s a 30-day trial.

Quick Review (TL;DR)

Discovery: It becomes good at predicting what you want to listen to and when.
Apps: The phone app is ugly with weird cover art and bright white. No desktop app.
Compatibility: You can “cast” music to any speaker or TV with casting capabilities.
Library: You can add up to 50,000 songs from your personal library.
Bonus: There's a free ad version of Google Play Music.

Who is this for?

You’re an Android user, have a well-established music library, and know the music you’re looking for. Google Music might not be perfect, but it has decent algorithms and you can upload your own music for free. The mobile app could be improved.