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Google Play Store on the web Developer(s) Google Initial release Android Market October 22, 2008 ; 8 years ago ( 2008-10-22) Google Play March 6, 2012 ; 4 years ago ( 2012-03-06) Development status Active Platform Android, Chrome OS,  iOS (excluding apps), web (excluding apps), Roku (movies only) Type Digital distribution app store Website play.google.com Google Play is a digital distribution service, including a digital media store, the Google Play Store (originally the Android Market), operated and developed by Google. It serves as the official app store for the Android operating system, allowing users to browse and download applications developed with the Android SDK and published through Google. Google Play also serves as a digital media store, offering music, magazines, books, movies, and television programs.
It previously offered Google hardware devices for purchase until the introduction of a separate online hardware retailer, Google Store, on March 11, 2015.  Applications are available through Google Play either free of charge or at a cost. They can be downloaded directly to an Android or Google TV device through the Play Store mobile app, or by deploying the application to a device from the Google Play website.  Applications exploiting hardware capabilities of a device can be targeted to suitable users by requisite hardware attribute, such as a motion sensor (for motion-dependent games) or a front-facing camera (for online video calling). Google Play was launched on March 6, 2012, bringing together the Android Market, Google Music, and the Google eBookstore under one brand, marking a shift in Google s digital distribution strategy.
 The services operating under the Google Play banner are: Google Play Music, Google Play Books, Google Play Newsstand, Google Play Movies & TV, and Google Play Games. The Google Play store has reached over 2.2 million apps published  and over 50 billion downloads.  Contents 1 Catalog content 1.1 Android applications 1.2 Music 1.3 Books 1.4 Movies and TV shows 1.5 News publications and magazines 1.6 Devices 2 Google Play applications 2.1 Play Newsstand 2.2 Play Games 3 History 4 Interface 4.1 Installation history 4.2 Advertisements in free apps 5 Play Store on Android 5.1 Compatibility 5.2 Version history 6 Best applications 7 Application approval 8 Application security 8.1 Security issues 9 Patent issues 10 Gift cards 11 Availability 12 See also 13 Notes 14 References 15 External links Catalog content [ edit ] Android applications [ edit ] Google Play makes free-of-charge applications available worldwide (except countries under United States embargoes),  while paid applications are available in 135 countries.  Applications can be installed from the device using the Google Play Store app or through the Google Play website on a PC. According to AppBrain Stats, there are over 1,400,000 applications available as of November 2014 [update],  of which over 1,200,000 are free and over 200,000 are paid.  Google seems to remove low-quality apps from the store roughly once a quarter, when the number of available apps go down.
 As of November 2014 [update], developers in 61 countries were able to distribute paid applications on Google Play.  To distribute apps, developers have to pay $25 as registration fee for a Google Play Developer Console account. Google states that this fee is charged to encourage higher quality products on Google Play.
 Application developers can control which countries an app is distributed in, as well as the pricing for the app and in-app purchases in each country.  Developers receive 70 percent of the application price, while the remaining 30 percent goes to the distribution partner and operating fees.  Revenue earned from the Google Play is paid to developers via Google Wallet merchant accounts, or via Google AdSense accounts in some countries.  Google Play allows developers to release early versions of apps to a select group of users, as alpha- and beta-testing versions.
This allows the developer to fix any issues before the app is released widely. Google Play also allows developers to release updates in stages, first to a subset of users and then progressively to larger portions of the userbase, ensuring that the smallest number of users are affected by any issues missed in testing.  Some carriers, such as Sprint, offer direct carrier billing for application purchases.  Purchases of unwanted applications can be refunded within 48 hours.  Applications meeting certain design criteria set by Google can be made compatible for Android Wear and Android TV devices, and for the Google Fit platform.
[ citation needed] On March 17, 2009, about 2,300 applications were available in Android Market, according to T-Mobile chief technical officer Cole Brodman.  On May 10, 2011, during the Google I/O, Google announced that Android Market had 200,000 applications listed and 4.5 billion applications installed.  In October 2012, Google announced that Google Play had 700,000 apps available to download, matching the number of apps in Apple s App Store.  On July 24, 2013, Google announced that the Play Store now had one million applications listed and it had over 50 billion downloads.  Year Month Applications available Downloads to date 2009 March 2,300  December 16,000  2010 March 30,000  April 38,000  August 80,000   1 billion October 100,000  2011 May 200,000  3 billion  July 250,000  6 billion October 319,000  December 380,297  10 billion  2012 January 400,000  May 500,000  June 600,000 20 billion  September 675,000 25 billion  October 700,000  2013 February 800,000  April 850,000 40 billion May 48 billion  July 1,000,000  50 billion  2014 June 1,200,000  July 1,300,000  December 1,430,000  2015 Q1 1,500,000  2016 Q1 1,900,000  Music [ edit ] Availability of Google Play Music Google Play offers an online music store with over 35 million songs,   cloud storage of up to 50,000 songs at no cost, and a subscription music streaming service called Google Play Music. Songs are priced at US$1.29, $0.99, $0.69, and free.
Google Play Music is currently [ when?] available in 58 countries.  Books [ edit ] Availability of Google Play Books Google Play is the world s largest eBook store with over 5 million titles.  Purchased books are stored in the cloud and can be downloaded in the PDF and EPUB formats.  Google adopts Adobe Content Server 4 as the digital rights management (DRM) solution to protect downloaded copies of ebooks.
 Google requires users to provide payment information even for downloading free ebooks. In addition to downloading books from Google Play, users can upload books in the PDF or EPUB formats, which are stored in the cloud free of charge for up to 1,000 books. Publishers and authors can publish their books for sale on Google Play through the Play Books Partner Centre. Google mandates publishers selling their ebooks on Google Play to also make the book available for a limited preview on Google Books. The publisher can set the percentage of the book to be made available for preview.
[ citation needed] Google first began selling ebooks online through the Google eBookstore, which was launched on December 6, 2010, in the United States with over 3 million titles. It became a part of Google Play when the latter was launched. As of September 2015, Google Play was not accepting new sign-ups for publishing. Movies and TV shows [ edit ] Availability of Google Play Movies & TV There are thousands of movies and television shows available on Google Play Movies & TV, some in HD, including comedy, drama, animation, action and documentary.
 Movies can be rented or purchased and watched on the Google Play website or via an application on an Android device. Some titles are only available for rental, some only for purchase, and others for both rental and purchase. TV shows can be purchased by episode or season but cannot be rented.  Alternatively, users can download movies and TV shows for offline viewing and view them later using the Google Play Movie app.  Movies are available in 70 countries.
TV shows are available only in Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the US and the UK.  News publications and magazines [ edit ] Availability of Google Play Newsstand Google Play serves subscriptions to free and paid news publications, and magazines for reading on Play Newsstand. At the time of the launch of Play Newsstand, about 1,900 free and paid news publications were available. All magazines must offer at least a 14-day trial, while the free trial period offered for news sources (news editions) varies and is not mandatory. [ citation needed] Subscriptions to paid content is currently supported in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States.
 Devices [ edit ] Google Play, before March 2015, had a Devices section for users to purchase Google Nexus devices, Chromebooks, other Google-branded hardware, and accessories. At the Google I/O in June 2012, Google announced that Nexus 7 tablets would be made available for purchase through Google Play.  At Google I/O 2013, it was announced that a special edition of the Samsung Galaxy S4 with stock Android 4.2 would be made available on Google Play on June 26, 2013.  Likewise, on May 30, 2013, HTC announced that a similar stock Android version of the HTC One would also be released the same day.
 Android Wear devices, Chromecast and Chromebooks were other hardware devices listed for sale. A separate online hardware retailer called the Google Store was introduced on March 11, 2015, replacing the Devices section of Google Play.  Google Play applications [ edit ] Play Newsstand [ edit ] Main article: Google Play Newsstand On November 20, 2013, Google launched Google Play Newsstand, which combined the features of Google Play Magazines and Google Currents into a single product, which serves subscriptions to magazines, web feeds and server-generated topical feeds. Priced news sources and magazines can be subscribed from the Google Play Store app on Android or the Google Play website on any device, while free news sources can be subscribed from both within the app or from Google Play. All topical news feeds are free and can be subscribed only from within the app.
Reviews and ratings can be submitted for all Newsstand content distributed through Google Play. All subscribed topics, feeds, sources and magazines are synced across devices signed in with the same Google account. Play Newsstand featured about 1,900 free and paid publications at the time of its launch. The app automatically formats articles for reading on a phone or tablet, complete with images, audio and video inline. Articles are cached on the device for offline reading.   Play Newsstand was released for iOS in September 2014, as an update to the Google Currents app.
The Verge noted that the user experience across Android and iOS was nearly the same.  Play Newsstand incorporates Google s Material Design language.  The app s home screen (the Read now view) displays articles on the basis of the user s interests which, according to Google, the app learns quickly.
Subscribed topics show up as tabs on the home screen. Play Newsstand also supports RSS feeds.  Many formats of RSS content, however, are not supported.
 Play Newsstand also allows users to bookmark articles for later reading. Play Games [ edit ] Main article: Google Play Games Google Play Games is a service designed for Android which features real-time multiplayer gaming capabilities, cloud saves, social and public leaderboards, and achievements. The service was introduced at Google s I/O 2013 Developer Conference along with many other new services, and the standalone app was launched on July 24 at an event called Breakfast with Sundar Pichai together with the new Nexus 7, Android 4.3 and the Chromecast.   It lists both games and Google+ friends games on its home screen and lets users see highlights from both categories. This service is similar to Apple s Game Center. It started out only available in a limited selection of games such as Super Stickman Golf 2, PBA Bowling, World of Goo, Osmos HD, and a few others but has since been added to thousands of games.
According to Google, Google Play Games received over 100 million new users between January 2014 and June 2014, making it the fastest growing mobile gaming network of all time.  History [ edit ] Google Play originated from three distinct products: Android Market, Google Music and Google eBookstore. The Android Market was announced by Google on August 28, 2008, and was made available to users on October 22. Support for paid applications was introduced on February 13, 2009 for developers in the United States and the United Kingdom, with support expanded to an additional 29 countries on September 30, 2010.   In December 2010, content filtering was added to the Android Market and reduced the purchase refund window from 24–48 hours to fifteen minutes.
 Google eBookstore was launched on December 6, 2010, in the United States after extensive speculations regarding its release. It debuted with over 3 million ebooks, making it the world s largest ebookstore overnight. The international editions were to roll out beginning in early 2011. In February 2011, Google introduced a web client for Android Market that provides access to it via a PC.
Applications requested through the Android Market web page are downloaded and installed on a registered Android device.  In March 2011, Google added in-app billing to Android Market, allowing apps to sell in-app products.  In May 2011, Google added new application lists to Android Market, including Top Grossing applications, Top Developers , Trending applications, and Editors Recommendations. Google s Eric Chu said the goal of this change was to expose users to as many applications as possible. In July 2011, Google introduced a redesigned interface with a focus on featured content, more search filters, and (in the US) book sales and movie rentals.
 In September 2011, the Motorola Xoom tablet received an update that brought the redesigned Android Market to an Android 3.x Honeycomb-based device.  In November 2011, Google added a music store to the Android Market.  In March 2012, the maximum allowed size of an application s APK file was also increased from 50 MB to allow two additional files for a maximum of 50 MB for the APK and two additional files of 2 GB each, totaling 4 GB.  On March 6, 2012, the Android Market was re-branded as Google Play.
 On May 2, 2012, Google rolled out direct carrier billing for music, movies and books.  On May 24, 2012, Google introduced in-app subscriptions to Google Play.  On July 12, 2012, Google released update 3.8.15 which added Application Encryption functionality to help reduce application piracy. Since this update, many developers have noted compatibility issues causing various third-party widgets and keyboards to disappear after phone reboots or connecting to USB storage.
 Currently, [ when?] a fix is planned for a future release of Android OS. In July 2014, Google expanded its All Access Music service (now Google Play Music) to Ukraine among five other countries. Ukraine thus joined Russia as the only former Soviet republics with access to the service.  On April 4, 2016, Android s official blog announced a redesign of the icons used for the suite of Play apps, including Play Store, Play Movies & TV, Play Music, Play Games, Play Books, and Play Newsstand. The new icons have a similar style, and are meant to provide a consistent look across all devices and web.
 Interface [ edit ] Apart from searching for content by name, apps can also be searched through keywords provided by the developer. For the discoverability of apps, Play Store consists of sections such as Featured apps – showing apps meeting the Android design and quality criteria, Editor s Picks – exceptional apps and games picked by the Google Play editorial team, Top Charts – the most popular apps and games overall and by category, and Trending – apps that are trending with other users. Existing apps that raise their quality can trend too. Play Store also features over 40 categories for browsing apps and regularly updated collections based on events and other interests.
 Google Play enables users to know the popularity of apps (and other content) by displaying the immediate round figure less than the number of times the application has been downloaded. The numbers shown are the products of multiplying 1 or 5 by powers of 10, i.e. 1 billion, 500 million, 100 million, 50 million, 10 million, 5 million, 1 million, 500 thousand, 100 thousand, 50 thousand and so on. This is stylised as a large number with a smaller word showing the unit, hence 500 thousand is written thus, and not as 5 hundred thousand or 500,000. These units are localised: the Chinese version of the Play Store represents 5 million as 500 万, where 万
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