Google Music introduces Update to Improve Offline Listening

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Posted 5 years ago

Since releasing Play Music on Android, Google has seen the service grow in popularity, with more and more people intrigued by the option of being able to upload their entire music collection and listen to it anywhere. Now, Google has set about introducing a series of updates that can further advance offline listening.

Being able to listen to music without being tied to the Web is a big deal for Android users. It offers the best of both worlds: the chance to listen to your favorite tunes as though they were on an MP3 player, without the vast amount of storage that 20,000 of your own songs would demand.

The most appealing of the updated features is ‘Instant Mixes’. Currently, you can select a number of tracks for offline listening by selecting individual songs, or songs by an artist, from the ‘choose on device music’ option in the menu. This is a pretty user-friendly method as it is, but can be very time consuming if you have a huge music catalogue. With the update users can create Instant Mixes by selecting songs from the Recent tab. This is a great way to access tunes that you have listened to and loved, and can be useful for keeping a song handy that you want to share with friends.

The Next Web also revealed a number of other new features for the service including the added ability to keep Thumbs Up, Last Added, and Free and Purchased playlists on your handset. There is also gapless playback support, although this will only available on devices running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

European launch

Having launched a year ago in the U.S. with 8 million songs from top music labels, Google Music now boasts approximately 13 million tracks, and as of today, Android users in the U.K., France, Spain, Germany and Italy can also access the service.

Right on planned schedule, Google Play Music rolled out the service; however, record labels in the U.K. are not overly enthusiastic with the release, saying that it “doesn’t make sense” and is “undermining artists” because of the way Google’s search engine still helps piracy.

In a report by the BBC, BPI [British Phonographic Industry] chief executive Geoff Taylor said: “We don’t think it makes any sense for them [Google] to be doing something which does support artists and then, on the other hand, undermine artists by referring consumers to illegal sites.”

In response to Google’s August announcement that they were changing the way in which search results were calculated to push pirate sites down in the listings, Taylor said: “We personally think that three months should be long enough to get it working.” However, head of international licensing for Google Play, Sami Valkonen, said that punishing pirate sites is not as straight forward as that.

“The way that our search engine works is a completely separate algorithm from anything we do on Google Play,” he said. “Our search algorithm is a very complex beast and how it works, I have no clue.”

Google Music and Google search may be two different things but by making legal music easier to acquire, the Android-owner is already doing its bit to cut down on piracy. With a vast collection of songs at under a dollar, people will simply have no need to operate outside of the law to find songs by their favorite artists.

You can check out the update here.

– Anthony Carter

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