Google Play Integrates Android Market with Music Store

Renamed app hub drawing criticism already

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Courtesy of Google.com
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On Tuesday, Google redesigned and rebranded the Android Market app store to include digital content from the recently launched Google Music store.

This comprehensive, one-stop shop known as the Google Play Store streamlines the user experience of buying and managing Android apps and online entertainment and is seen as a response to one of the search engine's critical flaw when it comes to offering digital content: fragmented branding. It also incorporates e-books sales and movie rentals.

So far, the Android Market has sold about 13 billion mobile apps, a little over half the amount that has been sold through the Apple Store. Google is hoping that this new integration will tempt customers into purchasing more than just one app or song, but a combination of media to make for a fuller shopping cart.

Google is hoping that incorporating all their digital content under one solid roof to amplify sales might lure Warner Music Group to offer up their catalog. Notable holdout Warner is currently the only major record label not interested in doing business with Google.

Back in January, Warner Music chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr. said that Google had to "decide whether or not it wants to have a content platform" before negotiations could materialize. Now with the launch of Google Play Store, it seems like the search engine has made a decision.

Similarly to Apple's strategy, the Google Play digital content is accessible via computers, phones and tablets and stored in a cloud. The only alteration to existing content purchased through one of Google's formerly fragmented, now-defunct stores is the name change. Google's rebranding goes so far as to rename every media category with the word "Play" in front of it (e.g. Play Music, formerly Google Music). Some critics have already expressed some confusion, especially in regards to the renaming of the Android Market as the Play Store. (Does it make sense to "play" a business app or "play" a book, for that matter?)

Although apps, movies, music and books are the only type of content currently available on Google Play, TechCrunch notes that categories for "Audiobooks" and "Magazines and Journals" have appeared in the store's Help Center. Furthermore, Google has registered the domain names for googleplaynewsstand.com and googleplaytv.com, hinting at the search engine's upcoming strategy to incorporate every type of digital content into the Google Play Store and to compete more broadly with Apple's iTunes universe.

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