Google has decided to consolidate its Google Music, Google Books and Android Market online properties under a single banner: Google Play. The new digital superstore launched today.
As TechCrunch notes, Google had spent loads of time and energy in recent months trying (unsuccessfully) to brand Android Market. But Google simply has too many digital items to shop outside the smartphone realm. The consolidation has the potential to put Google on par with iTunes. Interestingly, though, unlike iTunes, Google Play is cloud-based. Meaning content can be accessed from any device without the need to clog up space on your hard drive.
The one odd thing about the launch is that it isn’t global. Different countries will be given different access to Google Play. From the Google Blog.
In the U.S., music, movies, books and Android apps are available in Google Play. 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.