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Will Play Store help Google sell more digital content?

Google is replacing the Android Market with Google Play, a digital content marketplace where users will be able to access music, movies, books and apps on their Android phone or tablet as well as on desktop.

The digital content service is cloud-based, which means it will be easy for users to start reading an ebook or watch a video on one device and then pick up where they left off on another. The move comes at a time when consumers are accessing a variety of digital content and expect to be able to access the content they purchase via a variety of devices.

?Having it all together and organized in an easily accessible findable way benefits the end user,? said Noah Elkin, principal analyst at eMarketer, New York.

?Whether that will translate into a big content business for Google remains to be seen. It could certainly help the effort,? he said.

Portable computing
One of the interesting aspects of the announcement is that the same content that users download via mobile devices will also be available on desktop.

?We are moving in a direction in which the model of portable computing is trickling up to the desktop," Mr. Elkin said. 

?We have seen this in the next version of OS X and Windows 8 is an example of this," he said. "Chrome is in this vein as well.

?Platforms are looking at digital content across mobile and desktop because the expectation of consumers is that whatever they purchase, they should be able to access it regardless of the device they want to consume it on."

The Apple App Store, which consolidates a wide array of content in one place is considered the model for digital content services. Amazon also has a strong cloud-based digital content service that Google may be trying to emulate.

?What Amazon and Apple have captured here is the symbiosis of content, software and hardware," Mr. Elkin said. ?It is a virtuous circle of one helping to sell the other, reinforcing the strength of the platform overall."

Unification strategy
Google Play lets users store up to 20,000 songs for free and buy millions of new tracks, download more than 450,000 apps and games, browse what Google says is the world?s largest selection of ebooks and rent thousand of movies.

Android Market, Google Music and Google eBookstore are all being lumped into Google Play.

Google will be updating the Android Market app on smartphones and tablets to the Google Play Store over the coming days.

Videos, books and music apps will also be updated to Google Play Movies, Google Play Books and Google Play Music apps.

Any digital content already purchased by users will continue to be available via Google Play.

To help drive use of Google Play Store, Google is offering a different album, book, video rental and Android app at a special price each day for the next week in its ?7 Days to Play? sale.

As part of the promotion, users will be able to download select songs or albums, games, books and movies for $0.25, $0.49, $0.99 or $2.99.

?Google has up until now maintained all these different content stores and they have been disparate and separated,? Mr. Elkin said.

?Google has been talking for a long time about unifying all of these content assets and this move suggests they are moving in that direction,? he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York