Review : : Google Play – What Do the Changes Even Mean?

Monday, 12 March 2012

If you haven’t already heard, big changes are coming to the Android Market. Well that’s not strictly true, the changes have already been made, and it’s no longer the Android Market. Google Play is upon us, and while you may not have noticed a change on your device yet, those of us who access Market through the web couldn’t have failed to notice the rebranding. So let’s take a look at what this means for the typical Android user. Does it herald the dawn of a glorious new age of digital media consumption, or is it a case of much ado about nothing? In all honesty, it’s probably a little bit of both.
To sum up the changes as simply as possible, anything that you could previously buy from Google—apps, books, movies, and music—is now distributed via Google Play. Play is now the central location on the web for Google to distribute content and applications, and it will also be replacing the Android Market on your device sometime in the near future, if it hasn’t already. You can read about it in much more detail on the Android Developers Blog.
Now you’re probably thinking that these things are already available from the same place, and that this is just an over-hyped name change. Despite initial appearances, the answer seems to be both yes and no. Flashy new logo and annoyingly generic name aside, there are actually some pretty big changes being implemented.
  • In a way that’s mildly reminiscent of, dare I say it, iCloud. All of your purchases can now accessed from any device or computer via the cloud, no syncing required.
  • The content on offer is no longer only available exclusively to Android users. Anyone can now use Google Play to purchase music, books or rent movies, geography permitting.
  • A change is also being made to the way in which applications are delivered to Android devices, but I’ll circle back to this one in a moment.
The changes aren’t however being met with open arms by everyone, specifically those outside of the US as you can see in the comment thread of the Google Play initial announcement on its own Google Plus page. Many people are frustrated by the fact that services such as Google Music are not yet available outside of the US, something that I can sympathize with. In fact, only a handful of countries have access to anything other than Android applications. A full list of what’s available and where can be found in the Google Play FAQ.
Aside from the change of name, which I hate. I would consider this streamlining of Google’s operation to only be a good thing, as long as they make as much effort as possible to provide their content and services to as many countries as possible. I’m not the sort of person who would use Google Music even if it were available in the UK, but I do think it’s unfortunate that not only do a lot of countries not have access to Google Music, they are also unable to access the books or movies which are being flouted as a major feature of this revamp. One can’t help but feel that this re-branding would have been met with a much more positive reaction if it were performed after rolling out content to other countries. I also can’t help but feel that this new level of unification is somewhat over exaggerated, but then again, Play does increase the scope of Google’s content distribution. There’s something about it all that feels a little bit iTunes-esque. Would it really be so far fetched to think that further down the line, we may be presented with a standalone Google Play client? And if so, would this be a good thing or a bad thing?
Enough with my negativity and speculation. As I mentioned earlier, Play brings a change to the way in which apps are to be distributed. A much more detailed and developer oriented description of which can be found here. The bottom line is that previously, applications were limited to a maximum size of 50MB and any other content that an app required would need to be provided separately by the developer. Since the advent of Google Play, although the initial APK is still limited to 50MB, it can be supplemented by two extension files with an upper limit of 2GB in size each. This effectively allows for applications up to 4GB in size. The content is hosted by Google, which obviously has massive benefits to both developers and users alike. Mainly that it saves the developers having to host content themselves, while offering users greater consistency when attempting to download the content. From a developer’s perspective, the increased file size is most likely the best thing to come out of these recent changes. Obviously it goes without saying that all your previous purchases are still valid and there is no need for developers to resubmit their work. Furthermore, the basic framework of the entire ecosystem remains largely untouched. The roll out is already well underway, with the online market becoming Google Play as of yesterday, and changes on devices being made over the next few days. Right now, I’m still to see the market change on my device, although the new APK is in circulation if you simply cannot wait to try it out.
So there you have it, this is Google Play in all it’s glory. For those of us who are somewhat underwhelmed by the whole affair, there’s even a “we know you’re not impressed so here’s some cheap stuff” promotion, which to be fair, does have some rather good deals.
New Market (Google Play) .APK

Google Play

Play Anywhere
All your entertainment in one place

Google Play is your one-stop shop for all your favorite entertainment. With over 450,000 apps, millions of songs and books, and thousands of movies, Google Play has something for everyone. Before you decide what you want, sample a free music or book, view app ratings, reviews, and screenshots, or watch a movie trailer. Google Play is a more connected, powerful experience.

The power of the cloud

How cool would it be if your entertainment was just available anywhere? Now it is. Buy a book on your Android phone and read it on the web at Buy a new album on your Android tablet and listen to it on your desktop at work. Rent a movie online and watch it anywhere on your phone. That’s the beauty of the cloud. You can read, listen and watch all your favorite content anywhere you want. No software required and no wires or syncing needed, and the best part - Google Play cloud is free to use.

Share what you love

Discover, shop, enjoy, and share music, movies, books, and apps anytime, anywhere. When you discover an amazing song, a nail-biting thriller or memorable movie, the first thing you want to do is share it with your friends. On Google Play sharing your favorite entertainment just got easier. You can easily share posts about your favorite books, music, movies, games or apps to your circles on Google+, email, or text message in a single click.

Play with music
Find music you love

Google Play has hand-picked rising artists and great bands from your favorite genres. With music on Google Play, you’ll get personalized recommendations based on what you listen to most. And when you're not shopping for new music, rediscover your library by creating an Instant Mix.

Buy now, listen now, sync never

There are hundreds of free songs and millions more to buy on Google Play. The music you choose is automatically stored in your Google Play music library and instantly ready to play on your computer, Android phone or tablet.

Your music, anytime, anywhere

Access your Google Play music library anywhere, anytime - no syncing, no wires. Stream music instantly on the Web and listen on your Android phone or tablet with the Google Play Music app. Not online? No problem. Just pin your favorites to your mobile device for offline playback.

Organize your music

Keep all your music in one place. Anything you get on Google Play is automatically stored in your music library and you can even add up to 20,000 of your own songs for free. With your music saved online, you can stop worrying about storage space and start enjoying your collection anywhere.

Give your friends a free listen

Sharing is caring. When you buy music on Google Play, you can share a free listen with your friends on Google+. And you get a free listen when they share what they've bought with you. It's sharing, discovering and buying music made simple.

Play with books
Find new books

Discovering your favorite books and authors has never been easier. With Google Play, shop the world's largest selection of eBooks - from thrillers to comedy, cookbooks, bestselling fiction, and everything in between - find over 4 million books to choose from, including millions of free titles. With Google Play, your next great read is always at your fingertips.

Buy anytime, anywhere

Shop on the web or on your device, find the eBooks you love, and start reading instantly. Choose from millions of titles, browse new releases, sample books for free, and find the latest up-and-coming authors.

Share what you love

Sharing the books you love with family and friends is just a click away. With Google Play you can easily post your favorite reads to your circles on Google+, via email, or text message, right from the pages of your book, without skipping a beat.

Your books in the cloud

With Google Play enjoy seamless syncing and easy access across your devices. All your books are stored in the cloud, so your entire library is always with you, accessible from any connected device. And with offline reading, it’s never been simpler to dive into your favorite books when you are offline, out of range, or in the air. Start reading on your tablet, continue on the web, and finish that chapter on your phone. You’ll pick up the story just where you left off, always on the right page.

Customize your reading experience

Read your books any way you like them on Google Play. Easily switch between day or nighttime mode, view in landscape or portrait, choose your font, text size, line height, and customize to your heart’s content.

Apps and Games

Play with apps and games
There is an app for everyone

Race to the finish line. Score a goal. Buy stocks. Read the news. Buy movie tickets. Update your status. Personalize your phone with live wallpapers, ringtones, and widgets. With over 450,000 Android apps and games your phone truly is your mobile entertainment system, organizer and portable computer all wrapped in one.

Find new apps and games

Looking for new apps? Check out our staff picks, hand-picked by our editorial team, browse apps by category or just search for them. You can also read reviews and ratings from other app and games users, and even add your own.
Get the latest updates

App developers are always updating their amazing apps with new features, tools and fixes. Google Play makes keeping your favorite apps up to date easy. Select ‘update automatically’ in your app settings and your app will always be updated. Or choose to update all your apps in one click. It’s that simple.

Get your favorite app, anywhere

Just found a new app on the web and can’t wait to try it? Install it from Google Play on the Web without ever touching your device. The app you install is now available on the device you choose - instantly.


Play with movies
Find the movies you love

Choose from an incredible selection of thousands of movies on Google Play including HD titles, new releases, award-winning films or your favorite classics. Whether you’re in the mood for comedy, drama, animation, action or a documentary, there’s a movie that’s right for you.

Watch it now or later

Rent movies and watch them instantly. Alternatively, download your movie for offline viewing and view it later using the Google Play Movies app or watch it directly on the Web.

Watch it anywhere

Watch Google Play movies anywhere -- your couch, your friends’ house or in-flight. When you rent a movie with Google Play you can watch it on your phone, tablet or any Web connected PC.

When will I get Google Play? 

(Build version 3.4.6)

In case it hasn’t appeared yet on your device, here you go…

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