Google has decided to take away the Android Market and give us Google Play. Take a look with me as I go over the not so subtle changes on what they did with the market.. er online store with Google Play.
No longer will we get to see the Market icon that we all knew and loved. It has been swapped out with their new icon.. a triangle? Ok, stay with me though – the new icon will makes sense. This goes right in line with trying to lose the “fragmentation” critics have been complaining about Google’s Android OS.
Google has been working hard with manufacturers and developers to try and make our “Android Experience” cohesive, intuitive, and most important usable! You can see they even put up a whole section about how to design Android applications here.
Organized Look and Feel
Google pulled out all of the stops on their re-design with their Google Play website. The big G decided to get serious about their whole approach to the market. The old page wasn’t horrid but the new design is sleek, clean, and easy to navigate.
Minor Changes in the Google Play Market
The Google Play Market app (can’t help calling it a Market app still… ) has updated their look with a Windows Phone-esque look with “icon tiles”. Hey, if it works steal it eh? Check out the images below that I snapped from my phone:
Converted to the Cloud
Sure they have a slick new site and re-branded their icon and changed the name so what? Well the main idea behind all of this (besides the seriously needed face lift) is to integrate all of it onto the Cloud.
Wait a Minute Here! This isn’t New!
Well, it has already been available in the “cloud” for quite awhile now hasn’t it? I was able to go onto the App Market from my computer and if I found an application I wanted – I was able to have it “pushed” to my device from my computer.
They are touting that now you can access everything you purchased – books, movies, music, applications will be available from any Android capable device – Phone, Tablet, Computer, or TV (the smart ones..). Everything will be held in their cloud environment – with supposedly no limits for those with large libraries.
Check out their promotional video explaining how Google Play is supposed to work below:
Does This Mean I’m Stuck On the Cloud?
No, you will still be able to have your music, movies, and books downloaded directly to your device to enjoy them offline.
Why the Change?
Google is also attempting to compete with Apple’s iTunes and iCloud services. Apple has a huge head start as they have been doing this for years and have a huge fan base. Microsoft has a similiar service with their SkyDrive service as well attempting to get into this huge market.
Straight from Google:
Our goal with Google Play is to bring together all your favorite content in one place that you can access across your devices. Specifically, digital content is fundamental to the mobile experience, so bringing all of this content together in one place for users makes the Android platform even more compelling. We’re also simplifying digital content for Google users – you can go to the Google Play website on your desktop and purchase and experience the latest movies, music and books. With Google Play, we’re giving you a simpler way to get your digital content.
The bottom line is Google is attempting to get you the consumer to use their services instead of going to third parties such as Netflix for Movies or Amazon for Music and Books (Kindle store).
So What Has Changed?
Besides the re-brand and face lift? Google has integrated both the Apps and Games for Android devices into one area, then kept the existing areas for Books, Music, and Movies.
The older services like Google eBookstore and Google Music have been merged into the Google Play environment. Both of these services will be merged into the new Google Play environment.
In order to read your books, listen to music, or view movies you have purchased from the new Google Play site you will have to download there proprietary players. I like the current music player that comes on my phone, I watch movies through Netflix, and I purchase my ebooks through the Amazon Kindle app. So for me this is moot.
When Do I Get It?
Google announced that it has started pushing out Google Play to devices this past Tuesday (3/6/2012) and it should hit your phone or tablet soon… depending on where you live, carrier, device etc..
Oh, and if you own an iPhone? You can download the eBook reader from iTunes here! No word on whether you will be able to download the music or movie players at a later date though.
Google has put up a FAQ page you can go to read more about the changes and when it should be available for your device.
How Do I Update?
I can tell you it was a pretty painless update for me. I went into the Market on my phone, agreed to a new terms of service and then it updated. Took all of about a minute to update (over 3G even!). Your experience might be different though. If you have been reading any of my other articles you know I have an AT&T Samsung Captivate that I installed Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 OS onto it. (And it is still running great!)
This is a smart move by Google. My personal opinion is that this is a little bit too late. Places like Amazon, Netflix, and even iTunes have a huge market share already. Google is trying to wedge themselves in a few years too late. But with the google merchant center this might help them.
The other issues I see are:
- They haven’t integrated their YouTube service into the whole experience.
- They haven’t really changed much besides the re-brand and website.
- You have to use their proprietary applications to view and use your online collection for books, movies, and music. This is a huge negative for me.
- It is not widely available to the world – mainly just the U.S. and U.K. – A lot of Android user’s outside of this are will still only be able to use the App Market portion of the new services offered.
I’m a big Google/Android fan – I do wish to see them succeed – but with other services out there already providing more content at better prices I don’t see them becoming the forefront in this environment.
Tell me what you think about the new Google Play in the comments below.