The Google Play Store

Google play
Google play

Google Play Store (originally called Android Market) is the digital and multimedia content distribution channel of Google. It's an online store of books, music, movies, Android apps, and more. It also serves as a cloud media player so that you can listen to your music collection anywhere.

Android devices have access to Google Play from the Play Store app. Other devices like iPhones and computers can find the same resources through separate apps (e.g. Play Music, Play Movies & TV, Play Books) or through the Google Play website.

The Google Play Store came into being in March 2012 after Google rebranded its entire digital distribution strategy, joining the Android Market and Google Music services to create one single platform called Google Play.

Google Play has over 2.7 million Android apps as of February 2017, and more than 40 million songs.

What You Can Do With Google Play

Once on the Google Play website, you can find sections for Android apps, movies and TV, music, books, news, and more.

  • Apps: The Google Play Apps section lets you find Android apps. You can view them by popular apps, new and updated ones, recommended apps, and apps by category (e.g. Music & Audio). Purchase or download a free app on your computer to have it automatically download on your Android device.
  • Movies & TV: Rent or buy movies and TV shows in dozens of categories, even ones meant specifically for kids. You can also browse movies by network, such as A&E or Comedy Central. A trailer is shown for each film, plus reviews, cast members, and a description. 
  • Music: This section of the Google Play Store is home for not only any music you've uploaded to Google Play (you can upload up to 50,000 songs) but also to a huge collection of singles and albums that you can buy (or get for free) and store right there in your Google account. Any and all music you have in Google Play can be streamed from your computer or mobile device.
  • Books: Rent or buy digital books through Google Play like comics, children's books, and textbooks. You can also store your own ebooks on Google Play to read them wherever you wish.
  • Newsstand: Subscribe to magazines and news outlets through this section. Some of the newsstand categories include Home & Garden, Women's Lifestyle, Science & Technology, Health & Fitness, and Entertainment.
  • Devices: This part of the Google Play Store is where you can find Google products to buy.

The Google Play Store Apps

Like mentioned above, there are multiple apps that can be used to access the Google Play Store from iOS devices like iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. Android phones and tablets should use the Play Store app for all things related to Google Play.

If you're on an iOS device, use these links to download the free Google app that lets you use the different components of the Google Play Store:

Free Google Play apps are accessible to users around the world (e.g. Google Play can be used in over 60 countries), while paid apps are available in over 130 countries.

Google Play Subscriptions

A lot of things are available on Google Play for free, such as uploading your own music to the cloud and reading most news.

However, there are also plenty of things that aren't free, that you can either rent for temporary use, buy permanently, or subscribe to on a recurring basis.

For instance, you can subscribe to Google Play Music if you want an ad-free experience of unlimited access to millions of songs at your fingertips. Newspapers and magazines can be subscribed to as well, but that's on a per-magazine/newspaper basis. You can also rent movies for a short time, after which they're no longer available unless you rent them again.

Google has some more information on Google Play subscriptions.