first_imgGoogle has been slowly moving into digital content distribution services for a little over a year now. The last update to the Android Market included the integration of Google Music, Google Video, and Google Books. The services, in the countries they are available in, are even available on the android market website, and included the ability to purchase any content and have it exist anywhere. The services were sort of bolted on, and many felt offered as a consolation prize for users who were willing to accept Google as their one and only. The package was a distant third behind iTunes and Amazon, who were both offering similar services for their platforms.As Google plans new products and services for Android, there needed to be a unified platform where everything is part of the same product and competes with the existing products on the market. That re-branding has happened and all of Google’s digital media services have merged to become Google Play.What’s new about Play?If you are already using Google Music, Movies, Books, and own an Android device, not much has changed for you in terms of how things work. You have a web hub and an app hub for all of your Google-powered digital goods. There’s no “killer feature” that will blow your mind in any way. On the surface, this is just a re-branding, unifying the services under a new name. Over the next few days, your Android phone will get updates changing the names of apps to the new branding. Google Music will become Google Play Music, and so on. The Android Market will be called Google Play in your app drawer and on the website, but otherwise you haven’t gained or lost anything. The message here is clear: Google Play is your home for digital content, and its all in the cloud because it’s Google!As you search the Play store, though, you begin to see the changes. This is no longer just a warehouse of things that you can buy, but rather an attempt at an actual shopping experience. Google has implemented the Play of the Day, which gives you an Android app or an Album for $0.25 every day. Movies and Books don’t appear to have similar deal programs in place at the moment. So, you purchase your app and are prepared to install it, when Google Play now greets you with a recommendation for other apps on the home screen now, something we’re all to used to on Amazon.Why is Play important?A brand is an incredibly important thing, especially in a world where — even on Android — your services face a unified competitor. The release of the Kindle Fire created an environment that is difficult to explain to a consumer. Yes, technically it is an Android tablet, but it is missing all of the Google bits. It’s not an easy point to get across, especially when all of Google’s services are considered separate at the moment. Now, it is much easier to say “this device does not support Google Play” and be done with the explanation. Being able to point at Play as though it is a single, critical component to Android will be a significant boost in the ability to explain the services as a combination of competitive products.Re-branding all of Google’s digital offerings is an important step for new services as well. Google has created a single object that is focused on the concept of buying things and having them live “in the cloud” for you to be able to access anywhere. That sounds like the perfect stage for Google to unveil their long-rumored “Google Drive” cloud locker, as just another part of Play. Now, when new cloud-based services are released with a mobile focus, they can be attached as new featured to Play, and the service will continue to grow from this framework.What Google Play needsPlay still suffers from the same issues the separate services had before they were rolled into Play. There’s still no way to gift any of the books, movies, albums, or apps to another person. There’s no gift card or allowance function for users who have accounts that could benefit from that. When you navigate from the main Play website to Play Music, you are unable to click a button and get back to the main Play page. The services still mostly feel separated, and the apps are the same as they were yesterday. If Google wants us to believe these services are the same, they need to do more than slap a new graphic at the top.Also, where is Google TV in all of this? Further proof that Google’s smart TV product isn’t seen as mission critical can be seen plain as day when you see that Play is not available in any real unified capacity on the platform. For all of their talk of unifying these services, there’s still a lot to be done for this to actually feel unified.Take a look at the Play promo video…last_img

Google Play What it is why its important and what it needs

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