Google Overhauls Android Market, Renamed Google Play

by Matt Klassen on March 8, 2012

Looking to rebrand itself to increase the popularity (and profitability) of several of its flagging content services, Google has rebuilt the Android Market, folding its various services into one comprehensive digital storefront that the company has renamed Google Play, Jamie Rosenberg, director of digital content for Google, said in a statement yesterday.

The renovation comes as a tacit admission that Google’s previous mobile content strategy simply wasn’t working, as users often found Google’s various services to be a disparate and fragmented mess. Juxtapose this to Apple’s seamless and fully integrated AppStore experience, which gives users a one stop digital storefront for apps, games, movies, and music, and it should comes as no surprise that Apple generates almost four times the revenue of Google’s Android Market.

While the brand shift comes as a surprise, given how much money Google invested in developing the Android brand name (which will remain as the company’s mobile OS brand), the company is confident that the switch will bolster some of its less than profitable services, notably Google Music, and offer users a more powerful—and not to mention, a more Apple-like—digital content experience.

Since its launch in October 2008, the Android Market has consistently lagged behind Apple in revenues, with Distimo, a company that tracks data on app stores, reporting last month that Apple’s App Store generated four times the total revenue of Google’s Android Market.

Further, in the current digital content market it seems like “comprehensive” is quickly becoming the word of the day. Users want a digital hub where they can access, download, and manage all of their digital content on all of their mobile devices, and until now its something Google simply has not provided.

By transitioning away from its disparate services like the Android Market, Google Music, and Google eBookstore and folding them all into the Google Play Store the company is tacitly making two key statements: first, that the traditional purview of the Android Market—that is apps, games, and mobile eBooks—simply isn’t enough to compete in the digital marketplace anymore, and second, Google’s stand alone services simply weren’t popular enough to compete with Apple.

As I mentioned, by packaging all its services together Google is hoping that more users will take advantage of some of its flagging services, particularly Google Music. The fledgling music service was growing into a serious disappointment in the music industry itself, with many complaining that consumer adoption and revenues simply weren’t hitting the targets Google had promised.

In the end, while the rebrand and rebuild of its Android Market into the new Google Play is clearly a sign that Google’s Android content strategy and its Google Music service were both a bust, the company appears to have set things straight, offering users a comprehensive content services hub that will hopefully help customers discover what Google has to offer and, of course, help generate increased digital content revenue.

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