What is the Purpose of Google Play?

What is the Purpose of Google Play?

Mar 13, 2012

The question that comes to mind when hearing about Google rebranding the Android Market to Google Play is simple: why? It seems obvious – the Android Market had become far more than just Android, what with books, music, and movies available for sale. It seems necessary, but is it really?

After all, Google has had problems with recognition. Maybe this is a good thing – moving away from Android as a consumer-level and to a more platform-agnostic label may be for the best.

Part of the confusion right now over the ‘Play’ moniker comes from the fact that one doesn’t really ‘play’ books. For example, I saw Moneyball available on Google Play for $0.25, and assumed that it was a rental of the recent movie release. Nope, it was the book. Why Google just didn’t call it the Google Market is beyond me, but wiser people than I are making these decisions. Well, I hope so anyway.

Of course, the cost of rebranding is that now everything that pointed to the Android Market now points to a completely renamed store. Even I’m having difficulty finding where the Android Market used to be. This will only be temporary, of course – as novelty fades, familiarity settles in.

Still, the history of the Android Market’s name and design has been rather volatile – last year, it underwent a huge renovation, now it’s not even an app store, it’s that and a media store, and they have only now settled on a name. Compared to the stability in design and nomenclature that Apple has had, it feels like a place of weakness for Google now.

Of course, ultimately a name is a name and people will likely catch on soon. It will be weird to think of the Android Market as no more – it rolled off the tongue well, and saying an app is available on Google Play doesn’t feel right quite yet. With the hope of selling to non-Android customers though, this may be the right move for Google.