POW! What did we tell you? All those domains Google reportedly scooped up just last week had nothing to do with a tablet -- it's a re-branding of Google's entire entertainment network. Say goodbye to the Android Market we've all come to know and love. Say goodbye to the separate Google Music and Google Books stores, and say hello to the new Google Play!
Essentially what Google has done is follow Sony's lead with SEN and combined several services under one rooftop. Starting today, Android Market, Google Music and the Google eBookstore will become part of Google Play, ditching their separate labels. The individual apps previously served up on Android Market for smartphones and tablets will also be changed to Google Play Movies, Google Play Books and Google Play Music.
But don't worry about all those apps and tunes you bought before the change. Content purchased and stored in Google's cloud will still be available as before, but they're now listed under the My Music, My Books, My Movies and My Android Apps links on the main page for easy access.
"Entertainment is supposed to be fun," reports Jamie Rosenberg, Google's Director of Digital Content. "But in reality, getting everything to work can be the exact opposite—moving files between your computers, endless syncing across your devices, and wires…lots of wires. Today we’re eliminating all that hassle."
As before, consumers can store up to 20,000 music tracks and purchase new songs from a catalog of over 8 million. Customers can also download more than 450,000 Android apps and games, and browse through "the world's largest" selection of eBooks. Unfortunately, what also hasn't changed its Google's selection of movies, offering a rental-only library of "thousands" including new releases and HD titles you can't purchase and store in the cloud (like Amazon).
"In the U.S., music, movies, books and Android apps are available in Google Play," Rosenberg says. "In Canada and the U.K., we’ll offer movies, books and Android apps; in Australia, books and apps; and in Japan, movies and apps. Everywhere else, Google Play will be the new home for Android apps. Our long-term goal is to roll out as many different types of content as possible to people around the world, and we’ll keep adding new content to keep it fresh."
To celebrate the network’s "re-launch," Google is offering a different album, book, video rental and Android app at a special price each day for the next week via its "7 Days To Play" sale. Here in the States, today's sale includes the collection of top 40 hits Now That's What I Call Music 41, the popular game Where's My Water, the novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and the movie Puncture for just 25 cents each.
"In addition, you'll find great collections of hip-hop, rock and country albums for $3.99 all week, detective novels from $2.99, some of our editorial team's favorite movies from 99 cents, and our favorite apps from 49 cents," Rosenberg reports.
For Android tablets and smartphones, the Android Market app will be updated to the Google Play Store app within the next few days.
Android gamers, here's the perfect time to get several awesome titles like Shadowgun, Dead Space, Need For Speed Hot Pursuit, NOVA 2 and others for just $0.49 each. Other non-gaming apps are also on sale, as seen here.