If you are using Google Music and have an iPhone, you now have a few app options for streaming your Google music on your iPhone. So far 2 unofficial iPhone apps have emerged and Google itself provides an iPhone optimized webapp for viewing and listening to your music from your iOS devices. Below we’ve reviewed the new Google Music apps available to help you discover and decide which route to take. Keep in mind that none of these solutions provide the ability to play your Google Music offline as of now. Also the 3rd party iPhone apps are not officially licensed by Google so they may be subject to changes at any time.
Once you start playing music, a “Now Playing” button appears on top of the app which you can use to get back to the playing screen. The Now Playing screen shows the album art along with pause/play/forward/back buttons on the bottom. You also have a seek bar on top of the screen which can be used to move around the playing track. Tap to enable shuffle, repeat. There is a menu for sending audio out to your Apple TV or Airport Express devices via AirPlay. gMusic supports iPod controls from the iPhone menu and background playback which is a good feature.
Issues with gMusic: First and foremost, the app crashes and freezes here and there. The search functionality doesn’t quite work and just keeps you stuck with a keyboard in your face. If you start dragging the seek bar too far into a song, the song just jumps back to somewhere in the middle which is strange. Sometimes when one song ends the next song doesn’t automatically start to play. There is no way to create or manage a play queue. The app somehow keeps its own playback queue and sometimes you end up listening to previously chosen songs in the mix, even though you’ve picked a new artist. There is no way to edit track info, edit existing playlists, or create new ones. Finally there is no log out button provided. Most of these bugs maybe fixed in the next version of the app by the developer.
Overall, gMusic is impressive with its fast load speed, friendly user layout, and responsive execution. It works over WiFi and 3G and if a few more features are added and the stability bugs are fixed, it can become an awesome little Google Music iPhone app.
The now playing screen allows you to pause/play/forward/back as normal and displays the cover artwork. Tap once to reveal the seek and volume controls, along with an AirPlay menu, and the time elapsed and time remaining counters. A now playing menu appears on the bottom of the app when you’re listening to music. This row includes an album icon, a song info marquee along with a visualizer graphic, and pause/FF buttons. Tapping anywhere on this bar takes you back to the now playing screen. Background playback and iPod controls are supported in GoMusic. Using the seek bar to jump to various parts of a song works surprisingly well and without any issues in GoMusic.
Issues with GoMusic: The app randomly crashes. The navigation is not very intuitive and can take some getting used to. There is no way to create or manage a playback queue. There is also no information about the number of songs in a queue when you are on the Now Playing page. Although you can create a new playlist by giving it a name, it’s not clear or possible to actually add songs to that playlist from the app. You can however slide left to remove existing songs from a playlist. Finally the overall graphics design in the app feel slightly outdated and could use some polishing up.
Overall, GoMusic is actually a great unofficial Google Music player, if you can live with the random crashes and the unfamiliar user interface. Hopefully the developer is working on adding some design upgrades and stability fixes to the app in the coming weeks.
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