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7 Cool Things You Can Do With Google Play Music

Dan Price 03-05-2017

Google Play Music is Google’s music streaming service. It’s been available since November 2011 and has grown to become one of the leading players in the sector, rivaling both Spotify and Apple Music Spotify vs. Apple Music vs. Google Play Music: Which Is Best? Here's our comparison of music streaming services Spotify vs. Apple Music vs. Google Play Music on price, quality, and catalog. Read More for the number one slot.


If you’re thinking about making the jump from one of its competitors, we’re confident you’ll appreciate Google Play Music’s impressive range of features.

But what happens when you delve a little deeper? What features lie just beneath the surface? In this article, we’ll introduce you to some cool things you can do with Google Play Music that both beginners and veterans alike may not be aware of.

1. Improve Your Recommendations

Recommendations are one of the most important parts of any music streaming service. With the demise of high street record shops, music discovery tools 7+ Easy Ways to Discover New Music You Will Love The depth and breadth of music to be discovered these days is mind-boggling. The problem is knowing where to look. We're here to help with an incredible list of resources just for you. Read More are rapidly becoming the primary way we unearth new artists.

Spotify’s Discover Weekly has been the gold standard since its launch in 2015, but thanks to an update in 2016, Play Music now has a feature that can rival it.

Rather than solely using your past listening habits and favorite artists to curate its recommendations How to Make Spotify Recommend Music You'll Enjoy In this article we give you five tips for making Spotify get to know you better. These should help Spotify's algorithms recommend music better suited to your personal tastes. Read More , the app also draws on your location and your current activity. For example, it will know when you’re at the gym or in the office and recommend music accordingly.


But did you know you can further refine the recommendations? This is a feature that sets Google Play Music apart from Spotify and Apple.

To tell the app what genres of music you enjoy the most, head to Settings > General > Improve Your Recommendations.

google play music recommendations

You can tick as many boxes as you want. When you’re ready, click Next.


google play music recommendations artists

Now the app will show you a list of suggested artists from the styles you selected. Again, choose as many as you want and click Finish.

2. Google Play Music Labs

Users of Google Chrome and Gmail will be familiar with the concept of Labs. They’re features that Google is working on behind the scenes; sometimes they end up becoming a fully-fledged part of the app, other times they’re discarded in the trash.

google play music labs


Google Play Music offers some experimental features. To activate them, head to Settings > Labs and slide the toggle next to the feature you want to enable. Currently, you have three features to choose from.

Note: All the lab features are experimental. There is no guarantee you’ll get the expected behavior on your own system.

Desktop Notifications

Desktop Notifications will give you a pop-up notification on your desktop whenever the song changes, even if you’ve minimized your browser window.

google play music desktop notifications


The notification will include artist name, song title, album title, and album artwork. Reportedly, Google hopes to add more functionality such as skip track and a volume slider in future updates.

View Track Comments

Google Play Music lets you upload 50,000 of your own tracks into the app. You can then access and listen to the tracks from anywhere in the world.

Enabling this lab feature places an additional meta-field next to those tracks, letting you add notes, comments, or custom genres.

Chromecast Fireplace Visualizer

The fireplace visualizer turns your TV screen into a virtual fireplace when you’re casting your music through a Google Chromecast device.

3. Mini Player

Desktop versions of music streaming apps tend to be more full-featured than the web-based versions. Look no further than Spotify’s disastrous recent update Everything Wrong With the New Spotify Web Player Did you know Spotify has now given its Web Player a makeover? Well, we say "upgrade," but this feels more like a downgrade. Here's why. Read More to its own web player for a case-in-point.

Sadly, there is no official desktop player for Google Play Music, so the Mini Player is the next best thing.

Finding the installation link isn’t easy. Firstly, start playing any track within the web app. Then you need to locate the diagonal arrow in the upper right-hand corner of the Now Playing panel at the bottom of the window.

google play music mini player

The app will take you to a new screen. Click Install.

google play music mini player install

Once installed, the mini player gives you a play/pause button, thumbs up/down icons, a skip track button, a way to shuffle and repeat tracks, and a link to the “I’m Feeling Lucky” radio station.

google play music mini player installed

4. Link to Any Music Video

One of the biggest perks paying for Google Play Music is a free subscription to YouTube Red. Red offers some cool features Is YouTube Premium Worth the Cost? 7 Things You Need to Consider Is YouTube Premium's cost worth it? We look into the pros and cons of YouTube's paid version. Read More , including ad-free videos and offline playback. However, one of Play Music’s best YouTube integrations has nothing to do with the paid service.

Did you know you can link to the music video of (almost) any song directly from the Now Playing bar?

google play music youtube link

Again, the feature isn’t immediately apparent. When a track is playing, hover you mouse over the Now Playing panel and click the tiny YouTube logo.

Best of all, clicking the logo does not throw you out of the Play Music app. The video will pop-up as a standalone item in the middle of the screen. Clicking elsewhere on the screen will dismiss it, and you will return to your tunes.

google play music youtube video

5. Shazam Killer

Shazam has been the go-to music recognition tool The 3 Best Music Recognition Apps to Find Songs by Their Tune Shazam is the best-known music recognition app, but how does the competition compare? We put three song finder apps to the test. Read More for years, but Google Play Music is starting to give the ubiquitous app a run for its money.

To identify any song, fire up the app and tap the search icon. The first entry you see will be Identify What’s Playing. Tap it, and your phone will start trying to recognize whatever is playing in your immediate vicinity.

google listen to music

If you’re on Android, you don’t even need to open the Play Music app. You can create a home screen widget for the feature by heading to Widgets > Google > Google Sound Search.

Note: This feature is only available on the mobile version of the app.

6. Use Shortcuts

Who needs a mouse? They’re so 1992. Don’t manufacturers realize everyone wants touchscreen laptops The Evolution of Touchscreen Technology In the tech space, time moves quickly; a little more than seven years ago, smartphones as we know them did not exist — now, they’re the most profitable tech industry on Earth. Read More these days?

Okay, that’s not entirely true. But using a mouse is slow and cumbersome compared to learning a few vital keyboard shortcuts.

Want to supercharge your Google Play Music desktop experience? Learn these eight essential keyboard hacks:

  • Play and Pause: Space
  • Next song: Right arrow
  • Previous song: Left arrow
  • Increase volume: =
  • Decrease volume:
  • Thumbs up: Alt + =
  • Thumbs down: Alt + –
  • Shuffle music: S

7. Start Afresh

Sometimes, your music streaming app knows too much about you. We’ve all read the stories about Spotify users who constantly get songs from one of the service’s most weird and wonderful genres 20 Obscure Music Genres You Should Listen to on Spotify Join us as we navigate through some of Spotify's weirdest and most wonderful music genres. There's a chance you won't have heard of any of them before. Read More popping up in their Discover Weekly or Release Radar playlists.

Unlike Spotify, Google Play Music offers a way to prevent it from happening: you can force the app to delete everything it knows about your preferences and musical tastes and just start again.

To start afresh, head to Settings > Delete Recommendation History and click Delete.

google play music delete recommendations

Click Delete for a second time on the confirmation screen to complete the process.

google play music delete recommendations confirm

Note: Using this feature will not remove your play count or song ratings.

Give Us Your Tips!

In this article we have introduced you to some lesser-known Google Play Music features. Hopefully, they’ll help you get even more enjoyment out of the service.

Of course, there are even more tips and tricks out there. So now it’s your turn. What cool features did we miss? What should all Play Music subscribers be doing to get the best value for money from the streaming service?

As always, you can leave you recommendations and suggestions in the comments below.

Related topics: Google Play Music, Streaming Music.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Play Music User
    May 4, 2017 at 7:57 am

    There's also the keyboard commands

    m - to open menue on left
    p - to open playlist menue on right (useful for jumping straight to a playlist without navigation to library and playlists).

  2. watcher
    May 4, 2017 at 1:24 am

    One of my favorite things not mentioned is I have all of my music up in Google Play Music's cloud and if there is a compatible YouTube video for my songs, it shows a YouTube Play button on it! And it plays right within the Play Music app!

  3. Franz
    May 3, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Google play music does not provide the possibility to filter your music by composer as iTunes does. This function is mandatory for people that listen to classical music.

  4. tyler underwood
    May 3, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Mine does not show a Labs in the setting drop down.

  5. Corey
    May 3, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    I would also highly recommend the open-source desktop player on mac and pc. Just search "Google Play Music Desktop Player". It's way better than the mini player or using chrome.

    • Taylor
      May 4, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      Came here to say this. Open-source and lovely.

  6. Marko
    May 3, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    You always? forget one thing, not all these features are available around the globe - nice features are "reserved" only for US.