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The Google Play logo and screenshot as of 2012
|Initial release||October 23, 2008(as Android Market)|
|Development status||Active / 1+ million apps (as of July 2013)|
iOS (Books, Movies, TV Shows and Music only)
|Type||Digital distribution, software update|
Google Play, formerly the Android Market, is a digital distribution platform for applications for the Android operating system and an online electronics and digital media store, operated by Google. The service allows users to browse and download applications developed with the Android SDK and published through Google, as well as music, magazines, books, movies, and television programs. Users can also purchase hardware, such as Chromebooks, Google Nexus-branded mobile devices, Chromecasts, and accessories, through Google Play.
Applications are available through Google Play either free of charge or at a cost. They can be downloaded directly to an Android or Google TV device through the Play Store mobile app, or by deploying the application to a device from the Google Play website. Many applications can be targeted to specific users based on a particular hardware attribute of their device, such as a motion sensor (for motion-dependent games) or a front-facing camera (for online video calling).
On March 6, 2012, with the merging of the Android Market and Google Music, the service was renamed Google Play to coincide with the rebranding of Google's digital distribution strategy. The services operating under the Google Play banner are: Google Play Music, Google Play Books, Google Play Newsstand, Google Play Movies & TV, and Google Play Games. As of July 2013, the Google Play store officially reached over 1 million apps published and over 50 billion downloads.
Google Play Music offers an online music store with purchases as MP3s, cloud storage of up to 20,000 songs at no cost, and a subscription streaming music service called All Access.
|Stable release||3.1.33 / February 10, 2014|
|Operating system||Android, iOS|
Google Play Books carries over 4 million titles. Purchased books are stored in the cloud and are available for both online and offline viewing either through a web browser or in the official apps for Android and iOS.
On May 15, 2013, Google updated the Google Play Books app on both Android and iOS to add support for user uploaded PDF and EPUB files. Users can store up to 1,000 files free of charge, as long as they are under 100MB.
A Google Play Book, however, is only a license to read the book. If the purchaser happens to travel to a country where Google Play Books are not sold then the books on the device can be deleted. In such a case, the books would have to be re-downloaded after the traveler returns to a country where they are sold.
|Initial release||20 November 2013|
|Stable release||3.2.0 / April 2, 2014|
On November 20, 2013, Google Play Magazines was renamed Google Play Newsstand and combined the features of Google Currents and Magazines into one single product, which serves subscriptions to magazines, web feeds and server-generated topical feeds.
|Stable release||3.1.22 (Android)
1.0.1 (iOS) / April 2, 2014 (Android)
January 15, 2014 (iOS)
According to Google, there are thousands of movies and television shows available on Google Play Movies & TV, some in HD, including comedy, drama, animation, action and documentary. Movies can be rented or purchased and watched on the Google Play website or via an application on an Android device. Some titles are only available for rental, some only for purchase, and others for both rental and purchase. TV shows can be purchased by episode or season but cannot be rented. Alternatively, users can download movies and TV shows for offline viewing and view them later using the Google Play Movie app.
|Initial release||May 16, 2013|
|Stable release||1.5.08 / March 5, 2014|
Google Play Games is a service designed for Android, iOS and web which features real-time multiplayer capabilities, achievements, leaderboards and cloud saves. This service is similar to Apple's Game Center. It started out only available in a limited selection of games such as Super Stickman Golf 2, PBA Bowling, World of Goo, Osmos HD, and a few others. The service was introduced at Google's I/O 2013 Developer Conference along with many other new services, and the standalone app was launched on July 24 at an event called "Breakfast with Sundar Pichai" together with the new Nexus 7, Android 4.3 and the Chromecast..
Google Play makes free-of-charge applications available worldwide (except countries under US embargoes), while paid applications are available in 129 countries. Applications can be installed from the device or the Google Play website. According to Google there are over 700,000 titles available as of October 2012. Google Play can update the applications the user selects automatically, or users can update them on a per-case basis or update all applications at once. Google Play filters the list of applications to those compatible with the user's device. In addition, users may face further restrictions to choice of applications where developers have tied-in their applications to particular carriers or countries for business reasons. Carriers can also ban certain applications, for example tethering applications.
Some carriers, such as Sprint, offer direct carrier billing for Google Play application purchases. Purchases of unwanted applications can be refunded within 15 minutes of the time of download. There is no requirement that Android applications be acquired from Google Play Store. Users may download Android applications from a developer's website or through a third-party alternative to Google Play.
As of 19 October 2012, developers in 32 countries were able to distribute paid applications on Google Play. However, developers pay $25 for registration to distribute on the Google Play Store. Application developers receive 70 percent of the application price, while the remaining 30% goes to distribution partner and operating fees. Revenue earned from the Google Play is paid to developers via Google Wallet merchant accounts, or via Google AdSense accounts in some countries.
On 17 March 2009, about 2,300 applications were available in Android Market, according to T-Mobile chief technical officer Cole Brodman. On 10 May 2011, during the Google I/O, Google announced that Android Market had 200,000 applications listed and 4.5 billion applications installed. In October 2012 Google announced that Google Play had 700,000 apps available to download, matching the number of apps in Apple's App Store.
|Year||Month||Applications available||Downloads to date|
The Devices section of the Google Play store allows customers to purchase Google Nexus mobile devices, Chromebooks, other Google-branded hardware, and accessories. Google Play sells the Nexus 5 smartphone for $349 with 16 GB of flash storage unlocked with no contract required. At the Google I/O Conference in June 2012, Google announced the Nexus 7 tablet computer for $199 with 16 GB of flash storage and $249 with 32 GB of flash storage would be made available for purchase through the devices section of the Google Play store.
The Nexus 5 is currently sold in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Nexus 7 is currently sold in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Nexus 7 3G is currently sold in Australia, France, Germany, Spain, the United States. The Nexus 10 is currently sold in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
At Google I/O 2013, it was announced that a special edition of the Samsung Galaxy S4 with stock Android 4.2 would be made available on Google Play on June 26, 2013. Likewise, on May 30, 2013, HTC announced that a similar version of the HTC One would also be released the same day.
|Device Name||Price (USD)||Available?|
|Nexus 7 Cover||$19.99||No|
|Additional Nexus 7 Charger||$24.99||No|
|Nexus 7 Dock||$29.99||No|
|Nexus 7 Sleeve||$29.99||No|
|Nexus 7 (2012 version)||$199+||No|
|Nexus 4 Bumper||$19.99||No|
|Nexus Wireless Charger||$49.99||Yes|
|Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play edition||$649||Yes|
|HTC One Google Play edition||$599||Yes|
|Nexus 10 Cover||$29.99||Yes|
|Acer C7 Chromebook||$199||Yes|
|Nexus 7 (2013 version)||$229+||Yes|
|LG G Pad 8.3||$349+||Yes|
|Sony Z Ultra Google Play Edition||$649||Yes|
|Moto G Google Play Edition||$179+||Yes|
|HTC One M8 Google Play edition||$699||Yes|
|Initial release||October 22, 2008|
|Stable release||4.6.17 / March 15, 2014|
The Play Store, originally the Android Market, is a digital application distribution platform and digital media store for Android developed and maintained by Google. The service allows users to browse and download music, books, magazines, movies, television programs, and applications from Google Play.
The Android Market was rebranded as the Play Store on 6 March 2012. The Android Market updates itself on older devices that it was installed on to reflect the change.
The Android Market was announced by Google on 28 August 2008, and was made available to users on 22 October. Support for paid applications was introduced on 13 February 2009 for developers in the United States and the United Kingdom, with support expanded to an additional 29 countries on 30 September 2010. In December 2010, content filtering was added to the Android Market and reduced the purchase refund window from 24–48 hours to fifteen minutes.
In February 2011, Google introduced a web client that provides access to Android Market via PC. Applications requested through the Android Market web page are downloaded and installed on a registered Android device. In March 2011, Google added in-app billing to Android Market, allowing apps to sell in-app products. In May 2011, Google added new application lists to Android Market, including "Top Grossing" applications, "Top Developers", "Trending" applications, and "Editors Recommendations". Google's Eric Chu said the goal of this change was to expose users to as many applications as possible. In July 2011, Google introduced a redesigned interface with a focus on featured content, more search filters, and (in the US) book sales and movie rentals. In September 2011, the Motorola Xoom tablet received an update that brought the redesigned Android Market to an Android 3.x Honeycomb based device. In November 2011, Google added a music store to the Android Market.
In March 2012, the maximum allowed size of an application's APK file was also increased from 50 MB to allow two additional files for a maximum of 50 MB for the APK and two additional files of 2 GB each, totalling 4146 MB/4.05 GB. On 6 March 2012, the Android Market was re-branded as Google Play. In May 2012, Google introduced in-app subscriptions to Google Play. On 12 July 2012, Google released update 3.8.15 which added Application Encryption functionality to help reduce application piracy. Since this update, many developers have noted compatibility issues causing various third-party widgets and keyboards to disappear after phone reboots or connecting to USB storage. Currently, a fix is planned for a future release of Android OS.
The Google Play application is not open source. Only Android devices that comply with Google's compatibility requirements may install and access Google's closed-source Google Play application, subject to entering into a free-of-charge licensing agreement with Google. In the past, these requirements had included 3G or 4G cellular data connectivity, ruling out Android-powered devices comparable to Apple's iPod touch, but this requirement had been loosened by the 2011 release of the Samsung Galaxy Player.
Google Play applications are self-contained Android Package files. Google Play does not install applications; it asks the device's PackageManagerService to install them. The package manager becomes visible if the user downloads an APK file directly into their device. Applications are installed to the phone's internal storage, and under certain conditions may be installed to the device's external storage card.
Some tablet computers such as Amazon Kindle Fire, do not provide access to Google Play, instead using their manufacturer's mobile content distribution site. Some owners use Android rooting to access Google Play, or use sideloading to load applications. As of July 2013, Barnes & Noble released an update to the Nook HD adding Google Play. Some applications, upon downloading from Google Play, elicit a warning that they are about to overlay the previously-loaded Nook version of the same application.
|This section requires expansion. (April 2014)|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2014)|
Often apps get machine translation of their description to the native language of the user that often is mixed with English words or has no meaning at all in the target language thus preventing the users of actually understanding app usage.
|This section requires expansion. (April 2014)|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2014)|
Google Play features a download history allowing for users to trace back to earlier installed apps without manually searching, and if the app was purchased, can be re-installed at a later date without having to re-buy it. At this time, however, there is no way to permanently delete or remove apps downloaded from the Google Play website (My Orders/My Android Apps). Since version 3.9.16, users are able to remove apps from the "All Apps" list on devices only.
As of May 2013, it appears that Google has removed all ad blocking applications from Google Play Store. This includes such applications as Adblock Plus which was formerly available through the Play Store. This application (one of the few not requiring root access to operate) can still be downloaded and installed from other sources such as F-Droid, so long as the user has configured their security settings to 'allow the installation of non-Market applications from Unknown sources'.
Google currently uses an in-house automated anti-virus system to remove malicious Apps uploaded on to the marketplace called Google Bouncer. This is meant to prevent repeat-offender developers, as well as check for anomalies in uploaded apps. Bouncer is credited to reducing malware by 40 percent between the first and second quarters of 2011. Lookout Mobile Security has reported that malware resulted in a loss of US $1 million in 2012.
According to a 2014 research study released by RiskIQ, malicious apps introduced through Google Play store have increased 388% between 2011 and 2013. The study also revealed that the number of malicious apps removed annually by Google has dropped drastically, from 60% in 2011 to 23% in 2013. Apps for personalizing Android phones led all categories as most likely to be malicious. The most downloaded malicious app in 2013 was Talking Angela.
The rumor of Play Store gift cards started after references to it was seen in the version 3.8.15 update to the Play Store app. Soon after images of the gift cards started to leak, and on August 21, 2012 they were made official by Google and rolled out over the next few weeks.
Google Play gift cards are currently available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Users outside the countries/regions listed below only have access to free apps and games through Google Play.
|Country/Region||Paid apps and games||Devices||Magazines||Books||Movies & TV||Music|
|Customers can purchase||Developers can sell||Movies||TV shows||Standard||All Access|
|Antigua and Barbuda||Yes||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Papua New Guinea||Yes||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Yes||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|United Arab Emirates||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
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