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Google has finally decided to unify its disparate Android Market content under the Google Play banner. The new moniker has completely replaced the aforementioned Android Market website and will slowly begin to take over Android handsets loaded with Android 2.2 Froyo and higher over the coming week.
So what does Google Play offer beyond just some new branding? To be quite honest, nothing really. In its announcement post, Google points out that Google Play offers room for up to 20,000 songs, lets you sync your apps and books across your devices and allows you to start watching movies on one device and pick up where you left off on another. If all of that sounds familiar it's because Google Music, Google Books and Google Movies already let you do all of that.
Google's announcement also makes a big to do about Google Play's cloud connectivity. Which again, is something that the Android Market and Google's various services have been offering since they debuted. But renaming the Android Market Google Play isn't the same as putting a fresh coat of paint on its digital marketplace.
Google Play marks Google's first major attempt to bring together its various media services under one family name. Starting with the the Android Market's change to Google Play, the company has changed Google Music to Google Play Music, Google Books to Google Play Books and Google Movies to Google Play Movies.
Think of Google Play as Google's attempt to get people to view its services as they view Apple's iTunes services. They all fall under the Google Play category and can be accessed through that one portal, like Google's services but each one branches off into its own store. It makes sense, especially when you consider how confusing it was to have services like Google Music and Movies appear as part of the Android Market without any explanation that they were all related. With the new naming scheme, users will be able to navigate Google's various markets without issue.
Our devices haven't yet been updated to Google Play, but we spent some time perusing the Google Play web page and can report that it looks essentially identical to the Android Market. The only real difference is the large Google Play logo in the top left of the screen. Short of that, there's nothing new that caught our eye.
We'll let you know how the revamped market looks on our Android tablets and phones when the update comes through.