Q. What is Google Play? I’ve been hearing about it, including on your blog, but I’m confused about what it is. Is it just another name for the Android Market or is it more than that?
A. Google has brought its media content together into one place in a site called Google Play. Google Play is Google’s answer to iTunes or Amazon, gathering its content offerings together under one virtual roof.
The Android Market is no more. Don’t worry, you can still get Android apps from Google and all of your apps, settings, high scores, etc. have been preserved. If your Android phone is set for automatic updates, your Android Market app has updated to become the Google Play app. Google explains about the update of the Android Market app to the Google Play app.
But you don’t need an Android phone to use Google Play. The service is the place to go not only for Android apps, but also Google Books, Google Music, and Google Movies.
All of these are available in the US, but other countries have more limited availability. In Canada and the UK, Google Play offers Android apps and Google books and movies. In other countries, Google Play is only available for Android apps so far.
Google’s content offerings have grown quite large, with over 450,000 Android apps and more than three million books, most of which are free. With Google Music you can store up to 20,000 songs for free that you can play on your Android phone, computer or through your Google+ account.
The change to Google Play not only brings Google content into one place, but also adds a syncing feature, similar to the Amazon Kindle’s Whispersync feature. If you start a book or movie on one device, such as your Android phone, you can pick up where you left off on another device, such as your computer. This will be very handy for those who like to enjoy their content on multiple devices.
Android apps can now be found in Google Play. The site is so similar to the Android Market that you may forget that the name of the store has been changed.
Earlier this week, Google Play removed country restrictions from the Google Play app. If your Android phone is running version 2.2 or higher, you should be able to download any app no matter where you live. (See XDA Developers) I haven’t tested this feature as a I currently live in the US, but this should be very good news for Android users outside the US.
You don’t need an Android phone to use Google Books. You can read Google Books on your computer and on the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch using the Google Books app available in the iTunes App Store. You can search for text and add notes, bookmarks and highlights to your Google Books. You can also share your thoughts about your books on Google+ by using the +1 button.
As of November 2011, Google Music became open to the public, no invitation required, but the service is still US only. Google has plans to expand the service globally but no date has been announced for other countries to get this services.
Google’s Movie library includes films from Paramount, Universal, Lion’s Gate, Miramax, Sony Pictures, Disney and Warner Brothers. Earlier this week, Google Movies added 600 films from MGM to the films it has available to rent.
Here is the video from Google introducing Google Play:
You can pay for your Google Play content using a credit card or you can use Google Wallet.
Have you used Google Play? Have you been wondering what Google Play is? Let us know in the Comments section below!
Congratulations to The Philadelphia Inquirer for winning the Pulitzer Prize for public service! The award was given for the investigative report, “Assault on Learning,” detailing violence in Philadelphia city schools which lead to changes in the violence reporting system as well as the creation of the position of a safe-schools advocate in the district.
Check out this fun and inspiring video of The Inquirer staff learning the news about the Pulitzer Prize. The Philadelphia Inquirer staff learning about the Pulitzer