Google Play Music Gets Shuffle and Next Track Preview on Wear OS

Google Play Music on Wear OS

For those of you who like to control their music from their Wear OS watch, today is a good day for you.  The Wear OS team, via the product forums, has announced that new features have rolled out to the Wear version of the Google Play Music app that allows for things like Shuffling music and previewing the next track to be played.

The new features impact the Google Play Music app that is installed on Wear OS devices and is rolling out now.  When you get the update (likely you already have you will be able to slide up when music is playing and enable a Shuffle feature on the playlist or album that you are listening to at the time.  Further, you will be able to swipe to see which track is next so you can decide if you want to play it or skip it.

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Google Play Music Update Allows for Disabling Lock Screen Album Art

Disable Album Art on the Lock Screen in Google Play Music

A minor update to Google Play Music has been released in the Play Store, bringing a long requested feature to the app.  With the new 8.7.6773 version of the app now allows you to disable album art on your lock screen.

Users have long requested this feature more for privacy concerns than anything.  If you are listening to music and a NSFW album art is displayed on your phone, it could be embarrassing for you or be something that is inappropriate for minors.  Now you have a bit more control over it.

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Google Play Music Update Drops Android Wear APK

Google Play Music

Google Play Music has a new update rolling out that significantly drops the size of the app as well as Adaptive icons.  The update is version 8.5 for those keeping score at home and the slimming down of the app comes primarily from the dropping of the Android Wear APK that was built-in the main app.

The requirement of the Android Wear APK was a holdover from pre-2.0 Android Wear when in order to control music on your watch, you had to have the app installed.  Google’s sorted that out with standalone app support in 2.0 and now in 1.x versions of Android Wear.  What this means is that the APK is simply no longer needed.

By stripping out the APK, Google was able to reduce the app size significantly, but nearly 2MB.

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Google Play Music Update Stops Auto Playing Upon Bluetooth Connection

Google Play Music External Playing Toggle

The latest update to the Google Play Music app for Android brings a much needed ability to stop auto playing of music when you connect your phone to an external Bluetooth device.  The update, version 7.12.5218-1.V.4310085 for those keeping score at home, is in the Play Store now and should come to users as an OTA update over the course of the next few days.

The new toggle is in the Settings of the app and is shows as “Allow external devices to start playback”.  If you disable this, when you connect your phone to a Bluetooth device, it will not start automatically playing music.  This is particularly handy when it comes to connecting your phone to your car’s Bluetooth as it won’t just start blaring music.

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Google Working on an Issue With Google Home and Google Play Music

My Google Home

Google has acknowledged that they are working on a reasonably significant bug between Google Home and Google Play Music.  The issue varies from user-to-user but most are experiencing one of two issues.  First, purchased music is not showing up in their libraries and is not playable.  Second, entire libraries for some artists are not searchable or playable.  What makes it interesting is that if you open up the Google Play Music app and Cast the songs in question to Google Home, they will play.

The issue was discussed in detail in a post in the Google Product Forums for Google Home.  There, users were encouraged to use the Send Feedback feature within the Home app to send detailed information to Google so they can continue to investigate.  Right now, there isn’t a fix available.

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Google Home Update Brings Google Music Library Playing, Not Just Stations

My Google Home

Chalk this one up in the “about time” category.

There is an update rolling out for Google Home that finally brings the ability for Google Play Music subscribers to stream their library of uploaded and purchased music to the Smart Speaker.  The update is rolling out as a device-side to your Google Home.  There is no update to the Home app itself expected – but keep an eye out.

To this point, when you wanted to play music on Home, it would always stream stations from the service, regardless if you had that music in your Google Play Music library.  The work-around of sorts was to specifically name an album that you have in your library, say “Play the album Clockwork Angels from Rush”.  If the album you requested was in Play Music, it would play it but it was streaming from the service itself, not necessarily what you had in your library.  This becomes a problem if there is an indie artist or other music that you have in your library but it isn’t in Google Play Music.  The work-around above won’t work.  The other work-around was to cast Play Music from your phone to your Home but that somewhat defeats the point, eh?

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Google Play Music Desktop App for Windows 10 Released

Google Play Music Site

For those who are on Windows 10, The lack of a native Google Play Music app means, for some, you are limited from listening to the music from your PC.  Some version of Windows 10 won’t allow you to install non-Windows Store apps so that rules out Chrome for your browser and easier Play Music playing.

Enter GPMDP.  The app is developed by Samuel Attard and gives you a customizable app that allows you to play your Play Music natively within Windows 10.  While it is not an official Google app, it gets the job done and works really well.

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Google Play Music Update Brings Search History Feature

Google Play Music

The Google Play Music app for Android has an update rolling out that brings new features to everyone.  The bulk of the version 7.9 build is aimed at the future, namely Android O so a lot of the attention and focus of this release is to be found once O rolls out to everyone.  That includes things like Notification Channels, a new feature that will be coming in Android v8.

For today however, there is a new Search History feature that you can access on devices today that will give you access to your music search history.  This history includes any music, album or artist searches you have done either from the Play Music app or site.

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