In April, Google added a podcast directory and player to Play Music. The feature is quite barebones, but provides some advanced features like playback syncing and a web client. An update to the Android app adds a sleep timer that is especially useful when listening to music.
The sleep timer can be accessed in Settings under General. Tapping it brings up the same style time picker found in Clocks and Google Calendar. The picker is actually quite dense with a second internal ring going from 13 to 23 hours. Users first select the hour then the minutes with a 23 hour 59 minute timer being the longest duration possible.
Once set, you can go back to the Settings menu to see how much time is remaining. When the timer goes off, whatever audio playing just pauses without even a toast alert reminding you that an alarm was set. The mini-player in the notification shade initially remains after the timer goes off. Unfortunately, there isn’t an option to set a timer from the overflow menu present in the now playing screen.
The longer hours is especially useful for podcasts, but most people will likely use it to make sure they don’t fall asleep listening to music. Version 6.13 of Play Music is rolling out now through the Play Store.