Google Play: What Game is Google Playing?

by Ben Bajarin   |   March 6th, 2012

With the news today that Google is re-branding the Android Market as Google Play, I am forced to wonder what that says about their strategy. Is playing all Google is really focused on? I also wonder if this branding is not more confusing to consumers than the clearer Android Market brand.

I don’t disagree that what they are doing to unify their store per-se is a bad idea. I am only questioning the branding behind it and what having something loosely called “Play” says about Google’s strategy. If nothing else I think it makes it clear that Google with Android is 100% focused on consumers. Something that I somewhat disagree with especially given the BYOD trend within corporate IT. If Google devices, or at least a large percentage of them, are not even options for IT to support than it will preclude consumers who need IT support from buying them. Granted that is not everyone but it is certainly a healthy fraction.

As I stated, unifying the different elements of their store is a good idea. I am just not sold on the branding and whether or not it is more or less confusing to consumers. I thought Android Market made a lot of sense and was clearly differentiated from other stores or services on other platforms.

This also takes Google one step closer to browser based computing paradigms we have been watching. Now that the Google Play is becoming increasingly more browser based as a part of the experience, it opens the door to more hardware agnostic experiences. I can already access my Google music through any browser regardless of my hardware and now books and perhaps in the future apps build for Android may be accessed and perhaps even used in this strategy.

I have often said that in the future we won’t install software or services we will simply access them. Perhaps Google’s strategy with Play is in line with my vision.

Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research. He is a husband, father, gadget enthusiast, trend spotter, early adopter and hobby farmer. Full Bio
  • http://androidandme.com/ Taylor Wimberly

    The game they are playing is called Copy Kindle Fire’s Success. I believe all the rumors about Google’s 7-inch tablet for $199 are true.

  • http://androidandme.com/ Taylor Wimberly

    Also, I agree with the browser based computing comment. This opens the door for Chrome OS to one day replace Android, if it comes to that.

    • benbajarin

      You know my opinion on that matter.

  • http://kaizenity.blogspot.com/ FalKirk

    I think it’s a great (if overdue) idea for Google to consolidate their stores. But branding them “Google Play”? It’s bizarre.

  • Hm

    Perhaps the first mistake you’re making is assuming that Google actually *have* a strategy, and aren’t just making things up in a rather rag-tag fashion as they go along. Consolidation of their stores is ridiculously overdue and the branding lacks the thought or professionalism of an organisation that really knows what it’s doing. Look out for another rebrand of their store within 12-18 months.