Google isn't taking the arrival of Apple Music lightly, it would seem. The company just announced a new free tier of Play Music in the US that provides access to ad-supported streaming radio. It looks to have all the same restrictions as other free streaming services, but you can't argue with the price.
Front and center in the new free streaming service are the activity playlists powered by Songza. So you get things like working out, driving, and entering beast mode (as we all do on occasion). There are also suggested artist, genre, and mood radio stations, which can be improved by telling Google what you listen to.
As with other free streaming services, you can't choose specific albums or songs and you only get six skips per hour. You'll also be reminded at various points that a much less restrictive experience is just a subscription fee away. Searching just generates new radio stations, unless you also have music saved to Google. This is all provided in addition to the 50,000 songs you are able to upload to Google's servers free of charge.
The free radio is already live on the Play Music website and should be available in the app this week. Google didn't specify if there would be an app update or if it would be a server side switch. No word on availability in other regions yet.
- Android Blog