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Google Play Is The Wrong Step In The Right Direction [OPINION]

With Google finally having launched all three of its additional components to the Android Market, it’s understandable that they wanted a streamlined interface for users to understand what they were purchasing and that they were purchasing it from the same vendor. Google Books, Google Videos, and Google Music had all been slightly separate until now. They were still obviously tied together through Android, but it wasn’t fully understood to the average consumer that Google is offering all of the media needed to more than just their Android phone. PC’s, tablets, and of course, any phones running Android all have access to what is now called Google Play, and I am happy to see Google doing something about that.

What I am not happy about however, is the name and idea of Google “Play”. It’s not just that I don’t particularly like the name “Play”, no, it’s deeper than that from a consumer standpoint. If Google is trying to brand Android into people’s minds with “Android Market” just the way Apple has done with “Now Available in the App Store”, then they took the right step. I’m just not 100% sure they took a step in quite the right direction.

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Yes, Google needed to streamline all of its content. There’s no doubt about that. It’s how they do that though, and the branding that they use, that will ultimately affect user’s thoughts on Android. Google is trying to get people to understand that their content isn’t delivered just through Android. No one who hears “Android Market” will assume that the content provided by such a service is also available on things that don’t run Android, such as PC’s and Google TV. With “Play” though, Google has taken that thought out of user’s minds and instead replaces it with one massive, combined content provider for everything a user needs. The only problem with this idea, is they decided to call it “Play”. When a user sees “Now Available in the App Store” they know iOS, but “Google Play” doesn’t really send an Android message at all, in fact, other competing products have similar names such as the RIM’s Playbook and Sony’s Playstation products. This is obviously going to confuse some people, and Google is trying to get away from “confusing” in Android, especially with the recent release of Ice Cream Sandwich.

Sure, Google Play will be fine. There are too many Android users who will immediately grasp the concept and easily make the switch to “Play” branded product names. However, they have sort of shot themselves in the foot when it comes to trying not to confuse new users. The Android ecosystem is pretty well known, but nothing Google has ever done has been remotely tied to “Play”. This isn’t to say it will not be a great service, though. Google accomplished what they needed to accomplish, and I’m glad to see that. I’m just not completely sold that “Google Play” was the way to go.

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