Launch of Google Play as an online entertainment center


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(CBS News) Google launched Google Play on Tuesday – an entertainment hub that will house movies, music, e-books, games and apps all in one place.

Full coverage of Google at Tech Talk

“Starting today, Android Market, Google Music and Google eBookstore will be part of Google Play,” Jamie Rosenberg, director of digital content, said in a blog post.

Google Play is cloud-based, which means everything you buy or rent will be stored online. The search engine giant hopes to make the move from the web to Android devices a seamless experience. Anyone with a Google Account will be able to log in and start shopping right away.

The music section of Google Play is essentially renamed Google Music. In Google Play Music, you can store up to 20,000 songs for free. If you have already activated Google Music, all your music will already be online.

Perhaps the newest addition to the Google family is Movie Rentals, which adds another big name in movie streaming to compete with Apple’s iTunes Store and Amazon Instant Video.

One of the most particular changes is the switch from the Android Market app to the Google Play Store app on Android phones or tablets.

“Despite being a phenomenally successful platform with wide adoption, Android Market has struggled to generate the kind of revenue Apple’s App Store sees with its apps,” said CNET’s Greg Sandoval and Roger Cheng.

Why is that? Google offers much of the same services as Apple or Amazon, but the brand doesn’t appear to be a reactionary “go-to” market for consumers. And consider the number of Google account holders. According to a January 2012 earnings call, Google reported 350 million active Gmail users.

The move to unify services in Google Play will make it easier for consumers to refer to one name, like the iTunes Store or Amazon, rather than the disjoint brands Google Music, Android Market and Google eBookstore.

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