Google's lack of official support by way of apps for Windows 8.1 or Windows Phone is by now (in)famous. But, in the case of Windows 8.1 at least, most of Google's cloud services are accessible in their full, unhindered web form by using your browser of choice. And this includes Google Play Music.
Google Play Music is, after all, a pretty great music service that currently offers one big feature that Xbox Music does not; a cloud locker for your own music. But the web app is pretty hit and miss, even in Google's own Chrome browser. Fortunately, for the Windows using Play Music fan, there's outcoldplayer. The best way to get your Google Play Music library on your Windows tablet or computer.
Less Google, more Windows
Perhaps the nicest thing about using outcoldplayer over the web app is the appearance. Sure, it's not a totally unattractive web app, but outcoldplayer is 100% a Windows app.
It also benefits from a couple of neat features that you don't get with the web app. The first is offline caching. Essential for any cloud based music app, and whether or not it's your music or something from your All Access subscription, you're able to download it to play offline. You can also pin your favorite albums, playlists and radio stations to your Start Screen, as well as making use of the live tile.
All the All Access
Outcoldplayer also works just fine with Google's All Access subscription service. You can search for new music and explore the Google suggested tracks and albums as well as use the Radio feature. What you can't do is physically buy anything. Purchases will still need to be carried out on the web, but that's OK, since it's hooked into Google Wallet accounts anyway.
You also get the new, Songza inspired playlist suggestions in regions that support the feature.
Other good stuff
The features don't stop there either. Playlist management, Last.fm scrobbling, Xbox streaming and background music playing are all available. Then there's just the general performance. It's a silky smooth experience as we've come to expect from Windows 8.1 applications. If you're streaming it doesn't take long to hook on and play the music and it's just so easy and pleasant to use.
One thing that is worth noting is how outcoldplayer works with Google 2-Step Authentication. It doesn't use a browser based login, so you'll need to generate a unique password from the web to be able to use outcoldplayer if you've got 2-Step turned on.
The bottom line
If you're using Google Play Music in any capacity, then this is the app to have on your Windows 8.1 device. It's nicer to use than the web app, offers benefits that the web just doesn't, all the while keeping with what purists would desire from the look and feel of a Windows app.
It's going to cost you $5.99, but it's worth every penny.
- outcoldplayer for Google Play Music - $5.99 - Download Now
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine