Google Play brings together the search engine giant's music and ebook hubs along with Android Market. It could prove a robust Apple iTunes competitor.
systemic revision of its services continues, with the introduction of "Google
today, Android Market, Google Music and the Google eBookstore will become part
of Google Play," Jamie Rosenberg, Google's director of digital content, wrote
in a March
6 posting on the search engine giant's Official Blog. On mobile devices,
the update from Android Market to Google Play Store will apparently take place "over
the coming days," while videos, books and music apps will be rebranded "Google
Play Movies, Google Play Books and Google Play Music apps."
posting also suggested some 450,000 Android apps and games are available for
download. That places it second behind Apple's App Store, which offers more
than 550,000 apps for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
same log-in process that allowed users to access, say, Google Music will apply
to Google Play.
has been intensely focused on consolidating its services. Starting March 1, the
company folded 60 of its 70 existing product-privacy policies into a single
blanket policy, from which users could not opt out. Under the auspices of the
new policy, any user with a Google account signing into search, YouTube, Gmail
or other branded services is treated as the same individual across those
services, meaning that data can theoretically be swapped between them.
Google first announced the policy was forthcoming, privacy advocates began
arguing that the move trampled user privacy rights, all in the name of allowing
the company to better compete with Facebook for advertising dollars. Google
pushed back, arguing that its new policy is more transparent. "Our
approach to privacy has not changed," Pablo Chavez, Google's director of
public policy, argued in a Jan. 30 letter to Congress. "Google users
continue to have choice and control."
theory, Google Play could better allow the company to compete against Apple,
which offers a combination of apps and multimedia via its iTunes service. Apple's
iOS and Google Android are locked in a fierce battle for the lion's share of
the mobile-device market. Google also faces a rising threat from Microsoft,
which is planning to issue tablets running Windows 8 later in 2012.
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.