Google is making its recently rebranded music, app and e-book store, Google Play, a top priority.
Last month, Google combined the Android Market, Google Music and Google eBookstore into Google Play, a one-stop shopping destination to buy music, books and apps, or rent streamed movies. Through Play, you can also stream the music from the cloud to Android devices and web browsers. This week, Google added Play to the top navigation bar that follows you around the search giant's various services such as Gmail or Google Maps.
"This is a much-needed consolidation and improvement in the Google Android experience," said Greg Raiz, CEO of Brookline app developer Raizlabs, which makes mobile apps for Android as well as iOS.
"Other companies like Amazon have pushed for a more integrated digital media experience and services like Play is Google's answer to the app stores, music stores and bookstores from other providers."
Google is also pushing Play from below the search box on its otherwise spare home page. Josh Martin, an analyst at Strategy Analytics, said the move is a good first step, and will grease the wheels of content distribution for Google.
"I'd put Amazon in that category as well," he said. "Having a holistic umbrella is important for that. I think we'll see that move into other spaces Google is working on, like TV."
But Google Play doesn't address the biggest problem plaguing Android -- especially given Google's origins in search -- finding the apps you want from among Google Play's 400,000-plus apps, Martin said.
Martin said app stores may move toward a more social form of app discovery, for example, seeing a friend getting a high score in a game on Facebook, and then going to download that game.
But Google's recent changes to its terms of service could yield another possibility.
"What would be interesting is if all of a sudden Google started recommending apps based on everything you're seeing and doing on its services," Martin said.
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