Chances are you’ve seen this new addition to Google’s black bar and wondered, what is this new Google Play?
Ready, Set, Google Plays Ball
In a nutshell, Google Play is the rebranded Android Market.
Those who have Androids will see Google Play replacing the old market icon. Google Play is the one-stop-shop to buy apps, ebooks, movies, and music.
Sound a bit like iTunes? Yup, that’s the idea. Google Play even introduces itself in an Apple-style manner , with big, crisp images and minimal text. iTunes does a great job of being the central location for iPhone users to purchase anything and everything for their mobile devices, so naturally Google is picking up the hint and following in due fashion. Purchases can be made on the Google Play site online, or through the Google Play mobile app .
But there are other reasons why Google Play has come into existence.
The Android-Google Disconnect
The Android  brand and what it represents has become increasingly fragmented. Rather than being synonymous with the power and might of Google, the Android name is rather amorphous.
As Dan Rowinski of Read Write Web  notes:
“What is your first thought when you think of Android?...From a mobile perspective, Google may not be the first company a consumer recalls. Think Android, I think Samsung. Think Android, I think Motorola  and its Droid series. Think Android, I think Verizon.”
Part of the problem has occurred because of commoditization – Android variations are plentiful and continue to multiply like rabbits, forcing manufacturers to think up some pretty bizarre names. Condom or Android  device? The line is often blurred.
Previously, there has actually been quite little to connect the Android brand to Google. As an Android owner myself, every now and then I’ll feel a small wave of surprise when I turn over my phone, see the Google logo, and remember, “Oh Yeah…Google.”
This is where Google Play comes in: the new Android market, to remind people that Android is Google, because so far, it has been too easy to forget.
But Why is it Called “Play”?
Many have expressed some confusion over the title of “Google Play.” Wouldn’t Google Market be more appropriate, some ask? I imagine Google doesn’t want any confusion with Google Shopping/Wallet/Offers. Not to mention the Google Shopper mobile app , which is another thing entirely! Google Play also evokes the fun and whimsy often associated with mobile phones.
It does put the less playful apps in an awkward situation though. Finance, banking, and productivity apps will feel a bit put off, not quite fitting under the umbrella of fun and playtime.
While some have criticized the triangular logo, I think it’s cute and reminiscent of a minimalist video game or even concert lights. Rock on Google Play.
Google Play – It’s Not Just For Androids
Google is monopolizing some prime real-estate by putting Google Play on the black bar at the top of your Google window.
It’s doubtful they would do this for Android users alone; Google Play is a place where, at least in theory, anyone can go to download games, movies, and music, whether for a phone or to use at home on your computer.
What future we can envision for Google Play? Considering the weight Google seems to be investing in their new online store, I wouldn’t be surprised if we started seeing Google+ integrated social games in with Google Play.
What do you think of Google Play? And what do you imagine for its future?
Some extra goodies:
Apparently if you’re not going to spend $300 on a phone, you shouldn’t have one at all , at least in Matt Burns’ opinion. Sorry we aren’t dropping enough cash on a cell phone to please you there pal.
If you need a daily dose of cuteness, check out this elephant playing with a Galaxy Note  touchscreen phone. Adorable!
And lastly, if you are like me and still reeling over how amazing The Hunger Games movie is, check out this impressively serious Beanie Babies version .