Google Play celebrates first birthday with freebies, Brits short-changed

Google Play is one-year-old this week and to celebrate the company is hosting a week of free and heavily discounted apps, music and books. In the US, at least.

Reports have emerged of some cracking offers Stateside for Android users. The pilot episode of Breaking Bad is free to download in the US, The Velvet Underground's Sweet Jane is also free, and the eBook version of Morgan Rice's fantasy novel A Quest of Heroes is another freebie in the first batch of birthday gifts.

In the UK, however, it's harder to celebrate along with Google when all we seem to have is a tiny discount on Madonna's Celebration album - which, at £8.99, is still £1.50 more expensive than it is on Amazon generally - and a few quid off a few books and films you probably would avoid normally anyway.

Even the apps on offer are stretching the "gift" philosophy. As part of the celebrations, The Sims Freeplay, for example, is offering a whopping 75 per cent off the in-app purchase of birthday cakes. They're not free, but heavily discounted. Virtual birthday cakes. Discounted.

As this is only the first wave of first birthday presents to Android users, let's hope the second is better. It's certainly worth keeping an eye out on a daily basis, as the "giveaway" will last a week.