In the latest Google Play Music update, users can now adjust the audio quality for downloads and Wi-Fi streaming. This was previously available only for streaming via mobile data, where users could choose between three qualities: low, medium or high.
It’s a significant update as it gives users more control over not just the definition of the audio — which is often of great importance to subscribers — but also how much space it may occupy on their device (should they download it).
In addition, users also now have an “Always high” streaming quality option for mobile data — in the past, this could change depending on network circumstances.
Like Spotify, Google Play Music doesn’t explain what happens to music that you’ve already downloaded when you alter the setting. That said, if you switch the quality and don’t see any download in your notifications to reflect the change, then it probably hasn’t done anything (quality is informed by file size). The low, medium and high-quality settings for streaming are roughly equivalent to 128 kbps, 256 kbps and 320 kbps respectively — it’s likely the same for downloads.
The updates are rolling out in Google Play Music Version 7.5.4518 which is hitting the Play Store now.
February 23, 2017: Google has added a “recents” option to the menu where you’ll find all your last played songs. The feature isn’t new as far as music apps are concerned but it is the first time it has appeared in Google’s music streaming service. The update arrives as part of the Google Play Music version 7.4, which also brings a handful of other small tweaks, such as a new animation when you press play.
Additionally, Google Play Music also now boasts 40 million songs, up five million on the previous count.
Google Play Music UI overhaul
November 16, 2016: Google has rolled out a complete upgrade to the UI of its Google Play Music streaming service. The changes make it easier to search and discover new music, with clearer recommendations, but it has also improved the algorithms used to make suggestions. What’s more, Google has added offline streaming playlists which are loaded with your most recently played tracks.