How to make Tasker launch Google Play Music.

There exists an automation app for Android, which is named “Tasker”, and which can even be useful for non-rooted phones. Tasker has a plethora of Actions which it can sequence, in the definitions of Tasks which the user gives it, and the actions fall into many categories. Further, there exist plugins to Tasker, which add even more categories of choreographed actions which Tasker can run. And, Tasker has its own built-in Music Player.

But, several people have asked how it is possible to control the playback of music from other media players than the built-in one, most notably “Google Play Music”. One reason is the fact, that if we ever get into a confused state with our phone, we would like to take control of the process in spite of Human Error which always happens, and then to have all our widgets and controllers focused on one app, can be an immense benefit.

One way in which some people have recommend that we could control Google Play Music from Tasker, was by selecting an ‘Activity’ module, which allows the user to specify an app, and to specify an Intent as well. This is more or less what programmers would do, and involves some intricate spelling of syntax in fact. The fact that Tasker has an Activity module, which even displays a drop-down list of available Intents, does not help us much with Play Music however. I do not know if other people have had luck with that route, but I did not after some intense efforts today.

What worked for me, was to go into the Tasker ‘Media’ category, which offers a ‘Media Control’ Action, into which we can enter, which Media Player we would like to use, and which Simulated Media Button command we would like to send it. This is more of a GUI-oriented approach, and works much better for me.

This playing with Tasker is part of an effort I am making, to streamline the process by which I get out the door in the morning, which I will eventually be trying to accelerate with NFC Tags. But since the Tasks which I have waiting for my tags, when those arrive, often use such tricks as to invoke Tasker in the background, this suggests the question of why tags are even of any benefit, since by now I have a custom Notification Icon, which just launches a Tasker task, which sets me up almost as quickly.

One quirky answer to that for the moment is, that there is a bug in how Tasker would try to enable Power Saving Mode on my Samsung phone. That module just does not work for the moment, while I have every reason to expect that the “NFC Tasks” app will be able to accomplish that part of the daily ritual successfully. So that part of my automation is not implemented yet.