Introducing Google Play, Google’s answer to iTunes

The first Android device debuted in September 2008. It came with Android Market, the Android equivalent of Apple App Store; from ‘Market users could download apps (free and paid) for their Android devices. Flash-forward to 2011 and Android Market has books, music, and videos, too. However, although Android Market offered iTunes-like services, it just didn’t have the iTunes-like appearance. For example, you could buy a video from Android Market but if you wanted to watch it on your computer you would have to view it through Youtube (which is connected to Android Market through your Google account). As we have seen throughout 2011, under their new CEO Larry Page, Google is going on a diet — getting rid of services deemed useless and unifying the remaining services as much as possible. The next step in Google’s transformation is the emergence of Google Play.

Google Play is a “new digital content experience from Google where you can find your favorite music, movies, books, and Android apps and games. It’s your entertainment hub: you can access it from the web or from your Android device or even TV, and all your content is instantly available across all of these devices.” In other words, Google Play is the unification of Google Music, Google eBookstore, Google Movies, and Android apps/games. It is Android Market renamed and ported to devices outside of Android – such as your PC – via the web. It is Google’s answer to Apple iTunes.

Although I’m not a big fan of the name (“download that from Play” just doesn’t feel right), what makes Google Play an interesting prospect is it takes what is loved about iTunes – its one-stop-shop nature – and combines that with what Google does best: The cloud. Thanks to its web interface, Google Play allows for seamless movement between Android devices (phones, tablets, and TV) and traditional computing with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Anything you purchase from Google Play on your Android device is instantly available on all Android devices with that Google account and on any traditional computer via any modern web browser by simply visiting http://play.google.com. Indeed the fact that you don’t have to download a bloated program like iTunes to utilize Google Play services is a huge plus in Google Play’s corner (no pun intended).

Google Play is live on the web starting today; and it is being rolled out to Android devices as we speak, so expect a silent update to hit your device soon (there doesn’t seem to be a way to manually update it — be patient). If you have previously used any of the aforementioned Google services (Music, eBookstore, Movies, and Market), don’t worry about losing anything — everything (i.e. all your purchases, data, and files) has been consolidated into Google Play; and Google Play has the same geographic limitations as the separate services did in the past. In other words, paid Android apps are still only available in some countries; movies are still only available in USA, UK, Canada, and Japan; eBooks are still only available in USA, UK, Canada, and Australia; and music is still only available in USA.

Well what are you waiting for? Go Play. Yes, pun intended. Check out the links below to use or learn more about Google Play:

Google Play homepage

About Google Play

Google Play FAQs

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6 comments

  1. JT

    At least it’s better than Apple’s new ipad. “The new iPad” why in the world wouldn’t you call it iPad 3, or iPad HD or something!! They just do it because they can basically. lol

  2. Anonymail

    The name is terrible IMO. But the idea is something I’ve been waiting for! Not having bloatware to download is an even bigger plus! Now I can read, listen & watch on Nook Color (Rooted) and PC, Laptop.
    This makes getting that new LED LG Smart TV so much more likely and actually worth it! LOL
    Thanks Ashraf!

  3. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Carol Seymour: True, at heart Google is an advertising company. So there will always be privacy issues with their services. However, to simply dismiss them because they like collecting marketing data is impracticable and, frankly, unfair. All companies are doing it, maybe not to the extent that Google is but they are doing it. For example, Amazon collects your purchasing and viewing history to try to suggest to you products you may like. As does eBay. Apple does the same thing for iTunes; Apple also has iAds which does similar things as AdWords. Microsoft? Same boat. Etc. Google gets the most heat about this because, obviously, they are the largest advertiser in the business.

    The tussle between privacy and practicality will always rage. It is sad but true: The Internet was not intended to be a private place. It is up to the user what they want to do. For me I block ads whenever possible and have opted out of “personalized” ads on Android Market. Whatever else Google has on me, they can keep — it really isn’t that private in my book. When Google starts storing my social security number, date of birth, stealing my contacts, etc. then I’ll be pissed.

    @BarrysCool: Oh, I see. Well, then. You can read minds.

  4. BarrysCool

    @Ashraf Re; my comment on APK.
    Be confused no longer, This is what I was talking about. Although I may not have been so clear in my comment, there had been whispers of Google creating “Play” & this is what I have been waiting for. It makes the whole on-line process much simpler for the Android user. I want to PLAY.

  5. Carol Seymour

    Just remember that Google are offering these services for their benefit and not for yours. The combination of signing-in to your account and then having data linked to that account – be it music, movies, calendar, contacts, emails, search criteria, social networking or anything else you disclose – all in an unencrypted (i.e. readable by Google) format gives Google a nice personal database all about you.

    Of course it’s just for marketing, they would never abuse it. Privacy and security protocols make everything safe. Just like nuclear reactors.