The problem with cloud based computing is you need a good data connection to the Internet. Broadband services at home (including those lucky enough to have Google Fiber) are great and in the most part offer unlimited bandwidth. But on mobile it is different. Data plans are often capped or the carrier’s unlimited options are beyond the means of many users. To help ease the data usage problem for those streaming music over a 3G or 4G connection Google has updated its Play Music app to add new streaming quality settings.
As well as the existing “Stream via Wi-Fi only” option, which will stop Play Music using your data connection to stream music, there is now a setting to control the music quality whilst streaming over a mobile network. The three options, which are cunningly called “Low”, “Normal” and “High”, determine how much bandwidth is used to stream music to the phone via your carrier. Google also mention that this new version, known technically as v5.0.1052J, also reduces the overall data usage of the app.
The optimal settings for reducing data plan usage, without disabling it altogether, are to set “Automatically cache” (which only caches music while the device is charging and on Wi-Fi), set “Download via Wi-Fi only” and set the “Mobile network stream quality” to “Low.”
Other changes to the app include improvements to the search quality and a speed increase in how long it takes to store music on the device when it is marked as “Keep.”
Are you having trouble with the data usage of Google Play Music? Please leave a comment below.