Google Play

What is Google Play?

Google Play, formerly known as Android Market, is the official online store for digital media distributed by Google. In addition to Android apps, Google Play offers games, movies, TV shows, e-books and audiobooks. Google Play provides digital media for Android smartphones and tablets as well as devices running Chrome OS, Wear OS and Android TV. Apps are also available for automobiles that have the Google Play Store app built in.

Users can access Google Play through their browsers, where they can search for, purchase and download apps and other digital media. They can also designate which of their devices to install the media on. Account and purchase information is stored in the cloud and synced across devices so that users have immediate access to their content.

The Google Play website is organized into five categories:

  • Games. Google Play offers an assortment of games users can browse or select from categories such as popular games, simulation games, offline games and casual games. Games are available for devices running Android OS, Chrome OS and Android TV, which also powers the Google TV streaming platform. In addition, Google Play offers games for Windows computers.
  • Apps. Google Play includes a wide range of apps from Google and third-party developers. The apps are organized into categories such as popular apps, productivity, educational apps and video chatting. Users can also search for apps by name or type. In addition, the apps section includes links to related information that users might find helpful, such as how to protect and manage passwords or how to make audio more accessible with certain apps.
  • Movies & TV. Google Play offers a variety of movies and TV shows that users can either purchase or rent. The category is divided into five sections: Movies, TV, Family, Studios and Networks. Users can browse each of these sections or search individual categories. After they've made their purchases, they can stream videos or download them to their devices to watch later using the Google TV app.
  • Books. Google Play includes a variety of e-books and audiobooks. Users can either search for individual books or find them by browsing specific categories, such as comics, children's books, top charts and new releases. Users can also search for e-books or audiobooks by genre and access their individual libraries and wish lists. To read or listen to books, they can use the Google Play Books app on their devices.
  • Kids. This category lists apps and games targeted to children. The collection is "teacher approved," according to Google. The category is subdivided into four sections: All ages up to 12, Ages up to 5, Ages 6-8 and Ages 9-12. Users can search for apps and games by category or by browsing the catalog.

In addition to the Google Play website, users can also access Google Play offerings through the Google Play Store app, which comes installed on most Android and Chrome OS devices, and on other device types such as Wear OS watches, smart TVs and automobiles.

Google provides malware protection for Android apps through Google Play Protect, a threat detection service that scans and verifies 125 billion apps each day. Play Protect uses machine learning to continuously adapt and improve the service and better safeguard devices. Play Protect also provides on-device services integrated with cloud-based components that enable Google to push updates to protect against potentially harmful apps. Play Protect will suspend apps that violate Google Play policies.

Google Play launched on March 6, 2012, consolidating the Android Market and other digital services such as Google Music and Google eBookstore into one offering. Google Play Music has since been rolled into YouTube Music. Currently, Google Play is available in more than 170 countries and territories, and offers more than 2 million apps and games to users worldwide.

See how to detect and remove malware from an Android device.

This was last updated in June 2023

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