Google Inc. has integrated its music, apps store, films section and digital books archive into one store, to be now called Google Play. The new store is being compared to the entertainment platforms on offer from rivals like Apple and Amazon, both of whom must now be on high alert.
The Google Play service is entirely cloud-based, meaning users will have the privilege of accessing their content from anywhere on the Internet, an Android phone or tablet, without losing important data. Users can now store up to 20,000 songs for free and buy millions of new tracks, download more than 450,000 Android apps, access the world's largest selection of e-books and rent thousands of films, including new releases and HD titles, according to Google.
At present, the four new services have already been incorporated into Google Play on PCs and Android phones and tablets will receive their upgrades in the next few days. Google will release the update for devices running Android 2.2 or higher. Internet browsers like Firefox 10, IE 9 and Chrome are reporting good performances with Google Play.
The introduction of this new service comes as Apple is set to unveil the new iPad. Google Play must be seen as posing a credible challenge to Apple and Amazon, who have proven themselves in providing access to the world of entertainment with their services.
There are approximately 450,000 apps in the Android market, compared to the 550,000 in Apple's App Store. This translates into a fierce battle building up, between Apple and Google.
Google Play offers services similar to Apple's iCloud, in that users can move files between computers by endlessly syncing across different devices. Interestingly with the inclusion of Google+ service, friends can be informed of the things each user is reading, watching or listening.
Apple steadily gains from selling both hardware and content to play on them through its iTunes store while Amazon's online bookstore, with the help of Kindle and the eBook reader, pulls in users to play what they download from Amazon.com.
However, Google, who has so far restricted themselves to online advertising has a possible head start option, with the Android OS and could look to consolidate all of its popular entertainment services under one roof.
The launch of this service will include slashing of prices on a ton of applications, books, music and films. The US will get full access to all services, while Canada and the UK can see films, read books and download Android apps. Users in Australia can read books and use apps, while those in Japan can see films and use apps.
However, for the long term, Google plans on integrating as many of their contents onto a common platform as possible.