Google rebrands US Android market as 'Google Play'

Google rebrands US Android market as 'Google Play'

Summary: Google wants to sell you "content" that you might otherwise buy from Amazon, Apple or Microsoft etc. It has therefore rebranded the Android Market as Google Play, and pulled its apps, ebooks, music, and movies -- excluding its YouTube movie service -- into a single cloud-based offering.

TOPICS: Tech Industry

Google wants to sell you "content" that you might otherwise buy from Amazon, Apple or Microsoft etc. It has therefore rebranded the Android Market as Google Play, and pulled its apps, ebooks, music, and movies -- excluding its YouTube movie service -- into a single cloud-based offering. Or at least, it has if you live in the USA. If you're one of the UK residents contributing £6 billion a year to Google's revenues, you can just wait in line with the rest of the world, though there is hope….

Google introduced Google Play in a blog post today that says:

"In the US, music, movies, books and Android apps are available in Google Play. In Canada and the UK, we’ll offer movies, books and Android apps; in Australia, books and apps; and in Japan, movies and apps. Everywhere else, Google Play will be the new home for Android apps."

However, the link from "When will I get Google Play?", at the bottom of the home page, brings up a page that says: "We're sorry, but the information you've requested cannot be found." It should lead to the Play FAQ.

Google says that "Google Play is entirely cloud-based so all your music, movies, books and apps are stored online, always available to you, and you never have to worry about losing them or moving them again."

If so, "always available" means users can access their files when they have a working internet connection. This could work out very expensive for people who pay for bandwidth.

Cross-platform approach

Only Android apps are actually written for Android, and the content files are mainly cross-platform, so the Android name had to go. Google could have held on to "Market" but this has a somewhat downmarket feel, so that went as well. Play is dull but does the job, though it remains to be seen if the popular online retailer will object. (Google would have rejected iPlay as making the service sound too much like an iTunes knock-off.)

Being cross-platform should give Google an advantage against Apple, which is only really interested in providing content to play on Apple devices, and tries to force Windows PC owners to use its widely-hated iTunes software. However, that hasn't helped Amazon much, even though it frequently offers better products than Apple at lower prices.

But at this stage, it's not clear whether Google actually intends to target Play at the cross-platform market. Play could be aimed mainly at users of Google TV, and possibly at owners of Google-branded mobile phones and tablets, in the way that Amazon uses its Kindle Fire tablet as a shop window.

In December, Google chairman Eric Schmidt apparently told an Italian publication: "In the next six months, we plan to market a tablet of the highest quality." In May, before that, Google showed developers some Android@Home devices that streamed music. An FCC application has revealed that Google is testing the device in homes this year, from 17 January to 17 July.

Google is in the process of buying Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion -- a 63 percent premium on what it's worth -- so it should soon own its own hardware division. This would enable Google to make phones, tablets, set-top boxes and other devices without consulting or involving other Android users such as Samsung and HTC… and risk wrecking the Android ecosystem.


Topic: Tech Industry

Jack Schofield

About Jack Schofield

Jack Schofield spent the 1970s editing photography magazines before becoming editor of an early UK computer magazine, Practical Computing. In 1983, he started writing a weekly computer column for the Guardian, and joined the staff to launch the newspaper's weekly computer supplement in 1985. This section launched the Guardian’s first website and, in 2001, its first real blog. When the printed section was dropped after 25 years and a couple of reincarnations, he felt it was a time for a change....

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  • Apart from losing any credibility as a source of serious software with regard to business, Apps published on Google Play, how is having all your Apps in the Cloud supposed to work? Are they suggesting that each time you want to run an app you first download it to your otherwise dumb device? Alternatively the App runs on server half a planet away like a transaction on an Enterprise server? Apps that currently use device features such as accelerometers or GPS would have a hard time coping with the delay to say the least.
    Cheesed off to say the least.
    Tony B.
  • Tubsturtle: i don't think you have quite grasped the idea of cloud technology, all your pictures, videos, music and documents would be saved in the cloud so all you would have to do is take your phone, tablet, netbook or usb flash drive with your chrome os on it with you saving the hassle of taking it all with you and stopping the chance of you leaving that important business plan back home, when it comes to apps they would be on your phone or tablet not on the cloud, chrome apps are on the cloud because they are links to parts of the cloud like when you click on the google docs app in chrome it takes you to the google docs website where all your documents are saved for easy access

    Google made a mistake of not opening there market outside the US, and music labels and film companies are just as bad making licences so hard to get. They cry home about piracy but fail to realize if they didn't make it so hard for people to get there products legally, there wouldn't be such a demand to get it illegally