Google announces Google Play, but is the game already over?

By | March 6, 2012

Google Play or Android MarketToday many android developers including myself, received and email from Google announcing Google Play. Google Play replaces the Android Market as the central location for users to download and install Android applications. Currently we have 9 simple but Cool Android applications in the Android Market so I was interested to find out the impact for developers with this new platform. Fortunately the email from Google states:

“As a developer, you continue to use the Developer console to manage distribution of your apps just as before. Your accounts, published and draft apps, product information, prices, distribution controls, in-app products, and ratings all remain the same. If you use links to your apps in your promotional materials, those links will continue to bring users to your apps’ product pages on Google Play”

What does this mean for the Google Android Market?

So what does the introduction of Google Play really mean for you and the Google Android Market? Well honestly I was confused by the email I received from them. For some reason I thought Play would allow me to do something additional as a developer like create ebooks or interactive content in a new way. However as you see in this video, the main “feature” of Play is to allow users to purchase apps and share these purchases across devices.

So my first thought on that was, didn’t Apple already do this long time ago for their users through iTunes? My Coal Fireplace app can be downloaded and shared to both my iPhone and iPad with ease. I really hadn’t tried to share apps across Android devices so guess I didn’t realize that the ability to do that was missing for so long. While Play appears to address this issue for Android devices over 2.2, it still doesn’t address the fragmented Android Market, inconsistent user experience, and user expectation of free in lieu of paid applications.

Shall we Google Play or is the game already over?

As an Android developer of apps for the Google Android Market and Amazon Android Marketplace, I am not all that excited about Play. While I see how it will enhance the user experience by providing a missing feature to customers, I’m not sure if this will change the game much for Android developers. If anything it takes money away from developers since now it’s easier to transfer applications between devices legally. Hopefully this is just a step for Google towards enhancing the Android platform to a point where it can become a unified market for all Android devices.

What do you think? Are you excited about Play?

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