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You can limit the amount of data Google Music uses on Android

You can now change the amount of bandwidth Google Music will use to stream your favorite tunes over a cellular connection.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Google's music-streaming service All Access launched last month during I/O. The service, similar to that of Spotify or Slacker, allows Android users to create radio stations or stream entire albums directly on an Android device.

Streaming isn't a new feature in the Google Music app, as you have been able to stream music library stored in the cloud service for a while now. But All Access has increased the amount of streaming, and thus increased data usage.

Google on Thursday updated the Android Music app, which now allows you to choose the audio quality streamed through the app, in turn decreasing the amount of data used. That's important for people who are on a tiered data plan.

  • To change the audio quality and amount of bandwidth used by the Music app, install the latest version from the Play store and then launch the app after the update is complete.
  • Tap on the menu icon in the top-right corner and select settings.
  • Scroll down to the Streaming section and select "Mobile networks stream quality."
  • You now have three options for stream quality: Low, Normal, and High. Low will use the least amount of data, while High will provide the best audio possible, thus using a lot of data in the process.

In the end you won't likely notice a huge difference in audio quality, but you will see your data usage go down. Of course, if you realize you've dialed back the quality a little too much you can repeat the steps outlined above and increase the quality.