Google revealed a major overhaul to how its Google Play store lets you find and watch TV and Movies today (March 27) in the form of a revamped Google Play Movies & TV app. The changes are focused on search and streaming, adding capabilities that seemed aimed at competing with the discovery and watch features Apple has added to its own TV app in recent years.
The changes introduced to Google's app are designed to help you more easily find the shows you're looking for and to discover new things to watch, according to a post by Ben Serridge, lead product manager for Google Play Movies & TV. Take the popular show "This is Us" — search in the updated Google Play Movies & TV app, Serridge says, and you'll get results including rental and purchase from Google Play, as well as the information that it streams on the NBC app and Hulu.
Search results for Google Play will pull content from a plethora of channel apps, including broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, FOX NOW and NBC) as well as Amazon Prime Video, HBO Now and Go, Showtime and Hulu, among others. Google plans to add more partners over time. You won't necessarily have to name a specific show to find programming either, as you'll also get genre-based search, so you can find shows and films from major categories, including action, comedy, drama family and movie.
You can find all of that in the Apple's TV app as well as the search feature on the Apple TV set-top box. But Google's offering appears to focus more on personalized recommendations. Browsing the Google app, you can give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to shows and movies to let Google know what you like; Apple, though, recommends content based on curation from its experts.
In terms of what Apple's offering that Google Play isn't, the TV app either on your iPhone or Apple TV gives live news and sports a prime position. To get the same on your Android device, you'll need to open up a specific app, such as Hulu With Live TV or YouTube TV.
Google's app features a Watch List tab, similar to how the Apple TV app has an Up Next section for the next episodes in the shows you're watching.
Google says the updated Play Movies & TV app will roll out to existing Android tablets and phones in the next few days.