I recently I went to install an app on my Verizon-branded Droid Bionic, and I was greeted with a notification (Figure A) that the Android Market was upgrading to Google Play. The new iteration of the Android Market, Google Play (or the Play Store), offers more than just a change in nom de plum. Now, as tragic as that name is (makes it seem like it's nothing more than a toy store and, in my opinion, belittles the power of Android), the new store offers some pretty cool features. Figure A
The Android Market upgraded to Google Play or the Play Store.
The Play Store still offers all the apps and app goodness you've grown accustomed to, and there's even more under the hood. Google Play is now your one-stop-shop for all things multimedia, including apps, movies, music, books, and more. Apparently, Google has followed in the footsteps of Apple's iCloud. When you purchase a song, movie, book, or app on one Android device, that purchase will also be accessible from play.google.com. Once you log in with your Google account credentials, and you can access all of your multimedia from there.That's not all. From this same page, you can even push applications to other devices associated with your account (Figure B). Figure B
From the drop-down, select the device you want to push the app to.
When you open up the drop-down, it will be clear which devices are compatible with the app. For instance, I wanted to push Antipaper to another device, but since it's a tablet-only app, I couldn't push it to a smartphone. This pushing process is transparent — the small downloading icon will appear in the notification area and the app will just appear in the application drawer. It really is that simple.
Of course, only the things you purchase from the Play Store will appear in your play.google.com account. If you download and install a file from a third party, it won't be available in your cloud.
At first, I was a bit apprehensive — the name alone made my brow furrow. However, the addition of the play.google.com cloud makes this upgrade well worth the effort Google has put into the change. And, of course, this was inevitable. Once Apple made the iCloud available, people with other platforms were going to want this same feature.
With iCloud, every user gets 5GB free. Above that initial 5GB, there's a monthly associated cost. Will this be the same with the Play Store? Or will Google go the permanent free route in an attempt to woo more users over. As of now, there's no mention of size limitations. I'm sure, at some point, this will come into play.
All in all, Google Play is certainly a step forward for the Android platform. This is especially true if you're a fan of purchasing multimedia or if you have multiple devices and would like to better manage those devices from a single point of entry. What are your thought about this change? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.