Google Play: The new name for Android Market
From today, you'll no longer download apps from the Android Market, but instead, from Google Play.
Over the next few days the firm will push out an update to Android handsets that changes the name of the app you were using. This might confuse some, especially as Market updates tend to happen more automatically than most.
Nothing much changes though. The name is to reflect the new multimedia store that sells not only apps, but music, videos and ebooks too. This was something that Android Market did before, with sections for apps, movies and books growing out of the original offering which was solely for apps.
Google is also hoping that this new name, and some minor tweaks, will make people spend more money. That might be true, but we can't see anyone being prepared to cough up £4.49 to rent "The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption".
Of course, the idea is also to tie-in lots of devices, so your desktop PC will let you buy a movie, start watching it, and then resume when you're on the move with your phone. Which is a great idea, but it certainly didn't require a name change to achieve. But Google has produced a video, to sell the idea to everyone.
There will also be integration with Google's cloud storage, and you can store up to 20,000 songs there for free. That will enable streaming wherever you are, as long as you have access to the Internet.
We liked the name Android Market. It was cute, it made it feel like you were going to walk in, spend some money, and then walk out owning a little Android. Google Play is sterile and indistinct in every important way. Android is one of the few brands currently to have any sort of sense of humour, cuteness or light-hearted side. And we'll miss that, frankly.
Google Play might be rather indistinct, but it does mark a clear line between that Google-certified experience and that open source Android experience. Not having access to "Android Market" was a bugbear of those devices that never made the Google grade. With Google Play, ol' Uncle Goog is in a better position to push the Google identity, tying in with Google TV, whilst avoiding having some Android-branded services in the mix.
You can find it here: http://play.google.com/
UPDATE: Google Play has been rolling out across our devices, if you haven't got it yet, try looking for updates in "My Apps". We've included some screens below so you can see what it looks like, with the new icon that replaces the old Android Market logo.
Boring, right? Think of a better name, and post it below: