Google Play: Your One-Stop Media Source

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
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.

Google Books
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.

Google Music
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 Movies
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


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  1. says

    Nice info Carolyn!

    Had never heard about Google Play earlier but it sure seems like something wonderful. I liked the video and it took me back into time, the good old days. :)

    Sad that it’s not yet available in other countries unless you have an Android, or perhaps they may introduce it some time soon. My kids would love it.

    Congratulations to The Philadelphia Inquirer for winning the Pulitzer Prize for public service- great going!

    Thanks for sharing. :)
    Harleena Singh recently published this awesome post..Why are Grandparents Parenting Grandchildren?My Profile

    • says

      Hi Harleena, Yes, Google Play was just introduced last month so it’s still new and many people haven’t heard of it yet.

      If someone could come up with an international clearinghouse for copyrights for books, movies and music, they could make a fortune. Everyone would benefit, the publishers, artists and the worldwide public. Right now copyrights in different countries are such a patchwork that many countries don’t have access to digital content. Hopefully someone will come up with that soon. Having lived in England, I understand the frustration of not having access to these things outside the US.

      Yes, it’s fantastic that The Inquirer won the Pulitzer Prize for public service. Their investigative series not only brought light upon an important issue, it also resulted in significant changes to the Philadelphia City schools. Well done. :-bd
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Buffer: The Twitter Tool You Should Be UsingMy Profile

  2. says

    Hi Carolyn,

    There isn’t a lot useful available in Britain yet. I occasionally come across Google books but the the ones I want are always expensive.

    I did my blog as usual this week and did a for and after for the sketch art and another blog on a Zillion Ideas.

    I came across one of you posts from last June, is it really that long since we have been reading each other blogs? Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun?
    Mike Maynard recently published this awesome post..Neodigital Art | Sketch ArtMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Mike, Yes, I hope the price of digital books is reduced over time. There was lawsuit filed on this issue in the US recently against Apple and several publishers about collusion over pricing. Hopefully the result is to bring the prices of ebooks way down to make them more affordable for everyone.

      Yes, I know you published a post yesterday on Neodigital art, my favorite topic of your many. I will definitely be by because I want to learn how you created those very cool effects on your Pinterest photos!

      Wow, it’s amazing that it has been almost a year since I discovered your fantastic blog. You have taught me so much about photography, I appreciate every lesson! :-)
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Google Earth: Your Ticket to TitanicMy Profile

  3. says

    I saw that at the top of my browser when it was first implemented Carolyn but I didn’t pay much attention to it. I figured it was something else Google has come up with and I knew I’d get around eventually to checking it out.

    That was a really cool video too sharing what all Google has in that one little area. Good to know and thanks for sharing that with us. Now I don’t have to go touring.
    Adrienne recently published this awesome post..5 Easy Editing Techniques To Make Your YouTube Videos Less BoringMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Adrienne, Yes, Google Play wasn’t introduced with much fanfare, but it is an important part of Google’s strategy going forward. I think they’re wise to keep their content together in one place as they continue to expand their offerings.

      I’m glad this helped you, Adrienne!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Google Earth: Your Ticket to TitanicMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Jens, Unfortunately outside the US the Google Play offerings are pretty slim. Since you don’t have an Android phone it really doesn’t affect you. Even with an Android phone you would find the app store very familiar, it just has a different name.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Jens!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..WalkNText: For When You Have to Walk and Text!My Profile

  4. says

    I spotted Google play just last night as i was on a deal site and noticed an offer for $3 mp3. So i went to buy it and it aaz this thing called google play. But…….i had to pay for my album with google wallet. What a pain in the neck.

    I wanted to pay with paypal. Why cant these companies ever cross use their awesome services. Fail.
    Missy recently published this awesome post..5 Ways To De Stress On The CheapMy Profile

  5. Andrew says

    very interesting post Carolyn i have heard of Google play but i was not to sure what it really was but now i have an idea thanks to your once again great post, thanks for the help.

  6. Sarah says

    Wow, i am so jealous that we are not yet able to access Google Play.I had never heard of it until now, but it truly does look like loads of entertainment. Everyone world wide is constantly searching for movies, music and books daily due to the technology of today. And with technology being at the tip of our fingertips what a better way to access anything we want in an instant where and on whatever we would like. Very informative post Carolyn, Thank you.
    Sarah recently published this awesome post..The Week Ahead: Upcoming data releasesMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Sarah, Google Play should be coming to your country eventually for books, movies and music. You should no longer have any restrictions on getting apps from Google Play if you have an Android phone or tablet.

  7. says

    Google Play rocks but it is limited it’s features in other countries. Hope Google expand it’s features available for other countries.