In an effort to emulate the success of Apple with its iTunes and iCloud services, Google is combining many of its different services under one new service called Google Play. This new service will for the time being only be available for Google customers in the United States and follows a similar recent move to combine Google products which met with a lot of hostility from privacy advocates and the European Union.
Google Play is Google's attempt at cloud based entertainment, primarily for Android based devices such as Android smartphones and Android tablets. It will combine the existing Android Market, Google Music and Google eBookstore into one service with an update to US Android users changing Android Market within the coming days. The service will roll out to Android users outside the United States at a later date.
Google Play is an attempt to provide cloud based services, so Android users will be able to store their music, videos, games, apps and ebooks in "the cloud" to use on any compatible device. Cloud based storage allows you to enjoy your media on multiple devices without the need to spend time transferring data from a computer to all of your separate devices. Another benefit is that any app or game your purchase from Android Market Google Play will automatically become available on all of your Android devices.
Google Play will provide users with enough space to store 20,000 songs and the option to buy more from a selection of millions of tracks; download more than 450,000 apps and games; rent movies including HD titles and also browse "the world's largest selection of ebooks".
To celebrate the new service Google is offering a "Seven Days to Play" promotion, whereby users can download selected books, music and rented videos for a special low price.
Although the new Google Play service will be rolled out to other countries in the near future the service will not be the same in each country. For example, UK Android users will not be able to make use of the music features, being restricted to just movies, apps and books, and in Japan this will be limited to just apps and movies.
The new Google Play service will hopefully roll out fully before the launching of the new generation of Ice Cream Sandwich phones that were unveiled at this year's Mobile World Congress. Although Ice Cream Sandwich has been around for a few months on the Galaxy Nexus, it has yet to make an appearance on other handsets. Upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich phones include the yet-to-be-announced Samsung Galaxy S3 and the new breed of quad core phones like the HTC One X and Huawei Ascend D Quad.
Although iCloud has been very popular with iOS users it does have some limitations. Storing all of your media in "the cloud" means you can't access it without an internet connection. Not only will this leave you without entertainment when you have a poor 3G signal but it will also increase your data usage with constant access to and from the cloud based services.
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