What Is Google Play?

Everything you need to know about the Android storefront

Google Play is the official store for Android media including apps, games, and ebooks. You can download content directly onto an Android device through the Play Store app or send content to a device from the Google Play website.

The Google Play Store app is on every Android device by default regardless of the manufacturer (Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.).

Google Play Apps

The Google Play Store is home to millions of apps and games. Some apps take advantage of your device's hardware capabilities, such as motion sensors (for motion-dependent games) or a front-facing camera (for online video calling).

Google Play Pass is a subscription service that gives you unlimited access to hundreds of games in the Google Play Store.

Google Play apps home page

Google Play Books

The Books section of Google Play is an e-book distribution service where you can read or listen to e-books and audiobooks on your Android device. There are currently more than five million e-book offerings.

You can also download the Amazon Kindle and Amazon Audible apps from Google Play to access more titles.

Google Play Books website

Google Play's e-books are different from the Google Books online database, which contains a library of scanned books from the collections of public and academic libraries.

Google Play Movies and TV

Movie rentals and purchases are available through the Google Play Movies and TV section. You have access to a range of television episodes from shows that appear on network and premium channels. While it is available on the Google Play website, you should use the Google TV app to rent movies on your phone.

Google Play Movies & TV website

The Google Play Offers Tab

On the mobile version of the Google Play Store, you'll also see an Offers tab. This section shows you apps that have sales and promotions going on, including discounts on in-game items and media, free demos, and more.

The Offers tab in the Google Play Store


Google Play's History

Google Play launched on March 6, 2012, bringing together the previous Android marketplaces (Android Market, Google Music, and Google Books) under one brand. Google used to offer a Devices tab in the Play Store, but as Google's device offerings expanded and required more customer support, the company spun off devices into their storefront called the Google Store. Now, Google Play is for downloadable apps and content.

Google Play used to offer Chrome apps. However, those are now available in the Chrome Web Store. You can still use the Google Play store in Chrome environments.

  • How do I get Google Play credit?

    When you redeem a gift card, the amount is added to your Google Pay balance, which you can use to buy apps and other digital content and pay for subscriptions. You can also drop by a convenience store and pay cash to add to your Google Pay credit balance.

  • What is a Google Play gift card?

    Google Play gift cards can be used to buy content on Google Play. You buy them for others in your life or for yourself online or in some convenience stores. You (or the recipient) redeems the gift cards online at Google Play, where the amount goes into your Google Pay balance.

  • What is Google Play Services?

    Google Play Services is a background app that is necessary for downloading software and updates from the Google Play store. If you are having problems with an app, it could be because you need to update Google Play Services.

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