The Google-watching world has been abuzz since yesterday about Google Play.
No, it's not a new streaming music service from the search giant, though you'd be forgiven for thinking so.
Actually, the irony is that the moniker is indicative of how Google is trying to rationalize some of the confused branding and marketing its content services have suffered from in the last two years.
Google Play is, simply, the Android Market application store, the Google Music streaming service, Google's Movies service and the Google Books service rolled into one cohesive platform.
All this content will be accessible via Android smartphones and tablets from this Google Play Store application, which will replace the Android Market app on users' devices soon, according to Jamie Rosenberg, who as director of digital content at Google reports to Android creator Andy Rubin. Rosenberg noted:
"Today we're eliminating all that hassle with Google Play, a digital entertainment destination where you can find, enjoy and share your favorite music, movies, books and apps on the Web and on your Android phone or tablet. 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."
This video demo shows how seamless the experience is supposed to be, allowing users to start content on one device and move it to the next. It's the cloud baby!
Given how poorly Books and Music have been received to date, it's no wonder Google didn't try this sooner, but better later than never, one supposes.
And that's the rub. I certainly applaud the idea of consolidating all of these services under one umbrella. It's not unlike what I already enjoy from Amazon's Website, where I can flit from Instant Videos to books and other digital services from one destination. Apple's iTunes is similar in this regard.
Rosenberg acknowledged as much when he told The New York Times "that Google was aware that shoppers were "aligning around ecosystems" and that the company hoped this new effort would help entice people to stay within the Google realm for a much longer period of time."
Importantly, the content enabled via Play is all stuff users can pay for using Google Wallet, formerly Google Checkout. Again, this recalls the millions of iTunes and Amazon accounts streamlined in their own purchase funnels.
That's the way digital content should be served. I think Google has long realized it, and now it's doing it. I wonder, if people going to Play to download apps, will they also buy songs, movies and books?
That bears watching.