Radiant Player, a Google Music player for your Mac
With a new name and features, this standalone app is a must for Mac-owning Google Music users.
Matt ElliottSenior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
When I first came across this Mac app, it was boldly using the Google Music name and logo, leading me to believe that Google lawyers would find it before it could find an audience. Now, it appears that this standalone desktop app for Mac OS X might be around for the long haul. The developer has greatly reduced his odds of receiving a cease-and-desist letter from Google's legal team by changing the app's name to Radiant Player (or perhaps he made the change after receiving such a letter) while also adding a handful of useful features. Let's have a look.
Radiant Player is available for download on GitHub. After installing it, you'll encounter a layout nearly identical to Google Music's Web player. Basically, it's the Web player taken out of the browser with the Google Music logo removed.
So, why bother installing the Radiant Player app instead of simply using the Web app? A few reasons, namely support for media keys, which was a feature offered in the previous version of the app. The updated, renamed app also introduces a mini player, support for swipe gestures, and Last.fm scrobbling.
With the Google Music Web app, you can't pause a track or skip to the next without opening the Google Music tab and then clicking on the appropriate button at the bottom of the player. With the Radiant Player, you can keep the app in the background and control the action using the media keys -- skip backward, play/pause, skip forward -- at the top of your Mac's keyboard.
Don't confuse swipe gestures with media control keys. You can use your MacBook's trackpad not to skip tracks but to navigate the Radiant Player as you would Chrome, swiping to the left to go back to the previous screen and to the right to jump to go the other way. (Make sure you have the box checked for Swipe between pages in the More Gestures tab of Trackpad settings in System Preferences.)
Radiant Player supplies a mini player accessible from the menu bar. It provides a quick way to see artist and song information, give it a thumbs-up or -down, skip to the next track, or enable repeat or shuffle.
In Radiant Player's preferences, you can disable the mini player if your menu bar is overloaded with icons already. You can also turn off desktop notifications that alert you to the name and artist each time a new track plays. On the Appearance tab in the player's preferences, you can choose from four themes, and on the Navigation tab, you can bring back the Google Play logo. Lastly, on the Last.fm tab, you can sign into your account to scrobble songs to Last.fm as well as equate a thumbs up on Google Music to loving a track on Last.fm.