|Initial release||October 23, 2008(as Android Market)|
|Development status||Active / 800,000+ apps (as of February 2013)|
Books and Music available for iOS
|Platform||Android smartphones and tablets, Google TV|
|Type||Digital distribution, software update|
Google Play, formerly known as the Android Market, is a digital application distribution platform for Android and an online electronics store developed and maintained by Google. The service allows users to browse and download music, magazines, books, movies, television programs, and applications published through Google. Users can also purchase Chromebooks and Google Nexus-branded mobile devices through Google Play.
Applications are available either for free 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. These applications are generally targeted to 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).
Google Play Music
|Initial release||16 November 2011|
|Stable release||5.0.1027J / May 21, 2013|
Available as a web app on iOS
On November 16, 2011, Google introduced Google Music with a music store, Google+ integration, artist hubs, and purchasing reflected on T-Mobile phone bills. The three major label partnerships announced were with Universal Music Group, EMI, and Sony Music Entertainment, along with other smaller labels. To celebrate the launch, several artists released free songs and exclusive albums through the store. The Rolling Stones debuted the live recording Brussels Affair (Live 1973) and Pearl Jam made available a live concert recorded in Toronto on the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks as 9.11.2011 Toronto, Canada.
A cloud media player was first hinted at the Google 2010 I/O Conference, where Google Senior Vice-President of Social Vic Gundotra showed a "Music" section of the Android Market that would allow users to download music through the market. The music streaming service was announced by Google on 10 May 2011 at its I/O conference as Music Beta and released as Google Music, before the rebrand to Google Play. The service supports streaming music to desktop browsers, Android phones and tablets, and any other device that can use the Adobe Flash platform. At launch, the service was only available with an invitation and only to US residents. In November 2011, however, it became open to the public, but still only for US residents.
According to Google, there are hundreds of free songs in Google Play and millions available for purchase. Users can also upload up to 20,000 of their songs to the service for free. Songs in Google Music are priced at US$1.29, $0.99, $0.69, and free. Users also get personalized recommendation based on what they listen to the most. Music can be played on the Google Play website or on any Android device, and can be stored for offline playback.
Google also noted that "from time to time we'll be showcasing exclusive concerts and interviews available in Google Play."
The service allows the user to automatically create a playlist of "songs that go well together" using a feature known as Instant Mix. Music and playlists imported to Google Play music can not alter playlists in other music program libraries, while changes in other applications are reflected in the Google Play music library.
On October 29, 2012, Google announced Google Play in the US and Europe would get song matching: the capability to scan a user's music library and make available any songs which are present on Google's servers without the need to upload them. Google also announced partnership with Warner Music Group, the last major music label not already presented in Google Music. Google also announced that customers in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK will be able to buy music on Google Play from November 13, 2012.
On May 15, 2013 at Google I/O, Google announced Google Play All Access, a music streaming platform that will debut immediately in the US for $9.99 a month ($7.99 if signed up before June 30). The new service lets users to combine the All Access catalog with their own library of up to 20,000 songs.
Google Play Books
|Stable release||2.8.59 / May 15, 2013|
|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 for free, as long as they are under 50MB.
Google Play Books are currently available in Australia, Canada, Spain, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, India, South Korea, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, France, Russia and the United States.
Google Play Magazines
|Stable release||1.3.0 / April 18, 2013|
Google Play Movies & TV
|Stable release||2.4.14 / March 27, 2013|
According to Google, there are thousands of Movies & 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.
Movies are available in the US, UK, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, and Spain.
TV episodes and seasons are available only in the US.
Google Play Games
|Initial release||May 16, 2013|
Google Play Games is a service designed for Android and iOS which features real-time multiplayer capabilities, achievements, leaderboards and cloud saves. This service is just like Apple's Game Center. Though it is already becoming a popular service, it is only available in a certain selection of games such as Super Stickman Golf 2, PBA Bowling, World of Goo, Osmos, and a couple of others.
The service was introduced at Google's I/O 2013 Developer Conference along with many other new services.
Google Play makes free-of-charge applications available worldwide, 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 then 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. Google Play sells the Google Nexus 4 smartphone for $300 (unlocked, without contract). 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 4 is currently sold in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Nexus 7 is currently sold in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, 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.
|Device Name||Price (USD)||Available?|
|Nexus 7 Cover||$19.99||Yes|
|Additional Nexus 7 Charger||$24.99||Yes|
|Nexus 7 Dock||$29.99||Yes|
|Nexus 4 Bumper||$19.99||Yes|
|Nexus 4 Wireless Charger||$59.99||Yes|
|Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition||$649.00||No|
|Nexus 10 Cover||$29.99||Yes|
|Acer C7 Chromebook||$199||Yes|
|Initial release||22 October 2008|
|Stable release||4.1.6  / May 14, 2013|
The Play Store, originally the Android Market, is a digital application distribution platform 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, including the Barnes & Noble Nook and 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.
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.
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 2011.
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 would roll out over the next few weeks.
Google Play gift cards are currently available in the United States and United Kingdom.
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||Music|
|Users can purchase||Developers can sell|
|Antigua and Barbuda||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Papua New Guinea||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|United Arab Emirates||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No|
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