Getting more from Google Play

By Your Mobile Life on at

Google Play is your one-stop-shop for all your Android entertainment on the Samsung GALAXY Note II. It includes over 700,000 apps, along with millions of songs, books and movies.

This is Google's entertainment hub, but it's not just about buying entertainment. You can use Google Play to store music you've already bought in the cloud (even if you didn't buy it from Android), letting you access it wherever you are.

Not only that, but Google Play synchronises all your content, be it apps, music, books or film, across all your connected devices. So if you download a song on your Note II, it will also be waiting for you on your laptop at home. Or if happen to be reading a book on your tablet, when you pick up your phone it will be on the same page waiting for you to continue. No cables, no syncing, no storage costs - all using the power of the cloud.

What's more, with Google Play you can often try before you buy, providing you with samples or books and songs or trailers for films.

Tip: You can easily share discovered content on Google Play with your friends on Google+, email or text message in a single click. And you can see what other people recommend on Google+ too.

So let's work our way through the services on offer by Google Play to see how to get the best out of them.


Google Play Apps

With so many apps to choose from, it's well worth having a look around the Apps section of the pre-loaded Google Play app on your Note II. There are loads of free apps, as well as many that offer you great functionality for a fraction of the price it would cost you to buy software on your PC. Not to mention the wide variety of games.

Watch out for special events in the year too - traditional sale days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday will often see Google Play offering up cut-price apps and games, and sometimes even free downloads.

Extra functionality such as a stored history of previously downloaded apps is available by visiting the Google Play website (rather than the app) on your Note II.

From Google Play click on 'My Android apps' on the nav bar and a list of your apps appears letting you install and uninstall apps from your Note II. This is particularly handy if you had a previous Android mobile, as it will also show you the apps you installed on any previous phones and let you immediately install them to your Note II. You can even control what's on your Note II from your PC or tablet using the same method without touching the phone.

Tip: If you trust an app you can use Google Play to allow individual apps to automatically update. You can do this on an app by app basis, meaning you always have the current version on your Note II.


Google Play Music

As mentioned above, Google Music not only lets you buy albums and songs from Google’s extensive back catalogue, it also lets you upload all the music you already own on your computer up to its servers - up to 20,000 songs!

This means you can get access to any song you own from your Note II (or PC or tablet) wherever you are, with the added advantage that it is backed up should you lose the original.

You can play songs from your Google Play music library direct from your Note II using the Google Play Music app.

The app also lets you save your favourite songs direct to your Note II for instant playback, or you can access any other song by streaming it to your phone.

Tip: To reduce your phone data bill, if you are listening to music on your Note II where there's a Wi-Fi connection, pop into the Google Music app settings and choose to 'Stream via Wi-Fi only' and 'Download via Wi-Fi only'.


Google Play Books

Going to the Books section of Google Play gives you access to a huge and varied library of books in the palm of your hand. It offers a larger book choice to download than any other provider, and the searchable index includes millions of free books.

It's well worth downloading the free Google Books app too, as combined with the Note II's large HD Super AMOLED screen, it makes reading on the go a pleasure.

Although you can stream your books on the go, to save data costs if you are going to a place without you don't have to have an internet connection - just download a book or two onto your phone using Wi-Fi at home and then you can carry it with you for a bit of offline reading whenever you like.

The app will also remember where you are in the book, no matter what device you are reading on - so you can start reading on your PC, and clicking the same book on your Note II will take you to the last page you were on for effort-free continuous reading.

Tip: If a book you've purchased does not appear in your library on your Note II, hit 'refresh' (on the menu button at the top-right corner), to update the display.


Google Play Magazines

There are hundreds of popular magazines on the Google Play Magazines section from Classic Rock to T3, New Scientist and Cosmopolitan, and you can buy individual magazines, or subscribe to them on a monthly or yearly basis (depending on the frequency of the magazine) direct from your Note II.

Similar to the Google Play Books app, the Google Play Magazines app lets you read via streaming or downloading your favourite magazines to your Note II, so you don't have the hassle of carrying around the paper versions of your favourite mags.

With the Google Magazines app you can take as many as you like, and you don't have to wait for the latest version to get to the shops, it's there as soon as it's released. How else can you take a collection of magazines wherever you go, and slip them all into your pocket?

Tip: Many magazines will give you a 14-day or 30-day trial, letting you see if a new magazine is right for you.


Google Play Movies

The Note II's screen is perfect for watching movies on, and The Google Play Movies & TV app lets you watch any movies you bought on Google Play.

You can stream them straight from the app, or download them to your Note II letting you watch them even when you aren't connected. It will also play any movies you've taken yourself with the Note II's 8MP camera.

Tip: If you rent a movie from Google Play, it will show how long you have left to watch it. You have 30 days in which to watch it, but once you start watching it you only have 48 hours in which to complete watching it - however you can watch it as many times as you like in that two-day period.



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