Google Play Music Can Be Sideloaded On Glass and It Rocks

I have been a Google Glass Explorer for over 5 months and I am constantly blown away with what the technology is capable of. As we have mentioned in previous posts, Google has been known to hide a few features in each of the monthly Glass Updates. Normally these hidden features are found by glass users after tearing apart the firmware and reading the strings in the resource files.

Thanks to a hint left by a Googler, the latest feature that Google has been working on has been discovered ahead of the official announcement, Google Play Music is coming to Glass. The best part of this news is that it works now with a simple APK Sideload. You do not need root access to enable this feature. If you are a Glass owner, you can find the instructions to enable this feature at the end of this article.

It turns out that the same exact APK file for Google Play Music for Android can be sideloaded on Glass. Not only does the APK function but it also adopts the native Glass UI elements to make it look like it was written for Glass, not an Android Phone or Tablet. Upon sideloading the application, you are presented with a new option in your Glass Launcher called "Listen To". This function can be activated by either saying "Ok Glass, Listen to XXX" or by manually using the trackpad.

Upon launching the application, you will be prompted to name a song, band, album or playlist and the application will automatically search your library for the song and begin playback. By tapping on the "Now Playing" card in your timeline, you can skip songs, pause the song, adjust the volume and even launch Google Play Radio. All of the functions work as expected.

While the music is playing, you are presented with the same Album art that can be found on the Android version of Google Play music. Unfortunately it seems that the only missing feature is the ability to use the thumbs up/thumbs down functions present in the desktop/android clients.

From our testing, the application works perfectly. Aside from the limitations of Glass's speaker, the only issue comes to battery life. After 20 minutes of listening to glass, my battery dropped from a full charge to 85%. No doubt, you would want to carry a USB Battery Pack if you plan to listen to a lot of music. There also does not appear to be any offline support for this application.

Instructions To Enable

1) Setup the Android Developer Tools / ADB Binary - Free download from the Android Developer Website

2) Enable Android Debugging on Glass

- Select the "Settings Card"

- Select the "Device Info" card

- Scroll to "Turn on debug"

3) Download the Google Play APK file to your computer

4) Open a command prompt window and navigate to the folder that you downloaded the APK file

5) Run "adb install"

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About the Author

Keith Myers

Ever since I purchased my first Android Phone, the HTC EVO 4G on Sprint, I was instantly hooked on the Android ecosystem. A geek at heart, I quickly grew my Android collection to include several devices including the coveted Google Glass. I currently reside in Miami Florida and spend my free time at Open Source meetups.
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