Google is best known for its search function, but it has a lot more to offer. That is clear when you visit the Google Play Store, a digital market full of content. Let̵
Android Market: where the Play Store started
The Google Play Store started in 2008 as the ‘Android Market’. Launched alongside the very first Android devices, it aimed to distribute apps and games. That is it.
The Android Market was very basic in the beginning. It didn’t support paid apps and games until 2009. As the Android platform grew, so did the Android Market. In 2012, it featured more than 450,000 Android apps and games.
By then, Google’s ecosystem had expanded enormously compared to the humble beginnings of the Android Market. In fact, the Android Market was just one of the company’s online markets.
Three stores in one
The creation of the Google Play Store in 2012 was the culmination of three separate online markets that Google was running at the time. It combined the Android Market, the Google Music Store and the Google eBookstore.
The Google eBookstore was launched in 2010 with more than three million eBooks. Despite the large library, it was largely filled with public domain titles and scans. Google Music launched in beta in 2011, and while fans loved the local upload feature, the library of music to buy wasn’t huge.
Unlike Android apps and games, the Google Music and eBook stores are not exclusive to Android phones and tablets. Google took the same approach as Apple, which keeps the App Store, Apple Books and iTunes as separate entities. However, Google’s stores weren’t nearly as popular, despite greater availability.
To more accurately reflect the scope of what Google had to offer, all three stores were combined under the “Google Play” brand. The eBookstore became “Google Play Books” and Google Music became “Google Play Music”, all in the Play Store.
The Google Store is branching out
The Play Store is a digital marketplace. However, it used to sell physical devices as well. Google has briefly sold Nexus devices, Chromecasts and Chromebooks through a Devices tab in the Play Store.
At the time, this was the only place Google had to sell goods. As the company’s hardware efforts grew, it was time for a new store. The Google Store was created in 2015 for the company’s hardware, and the Devices tab in the Play Store now points to that.
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Google Play today
Today, the Google Play Store is home to Android apps and games, movies and TV shows, eBooks, and audiobooks. Google Play Music has been written off in favor of YouTube Music.
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The Play Store is installed on Android phones and tablets as the central location for downloading and purchasing content. It can also be found on Android TV and Google TV streaming sticks, set-top boxes and smart televisions. If a device is running Android, it will almost certainly include the Play Store.
Meanwhile, the other content areas of the Play Store, such as Google Play Books and Google TV / Play Movies & TV, are available on other platforms, such as the iPhone and iPad. The Google Play Store can also be accessed from anywhere via a web browser.
If you’re interested in a digital product from Google, the Play Store is where you want to go.