SAN FRANCISCO - Google’s digital marketplace for mobile applications, music, movies, and books is being unified under a new name.
The Android Market is now known as the Google Play Store. Google’s eBookstore and recently launched music service will be part of it.
The rebranding will be ushered in with tweaks designed to make it easier for customers to manage their content and navigate from one section of the store to another. None of the changes will affect the digital content that existing customers have already purchased and stored in password-protected accounts.
Google is trying to establish a one-stop shop that can satisfy everyone’s digital desires, whether they are on a mobile device or a desktop computer’s Web browser. The effort is part of the Internet search leader’s broader ambition to diversify beyond online advertising, which accounts for 96 percent of its revenue.
With Google Play, the company hopes more people will start noticing other types of content and consider buying an electronic book or album, too. If that happens, Google Inc. believes more digital content providers will want to peddle their wares in its store.
One obvious hole exists in the music department. Since Google began selling songs four months ago, only three of the four major recording labels - Universal Music, EMI Group Ltd., and Sony Music Entertainment - have agreed to offer their material. Warner Music Group remains a notable holdout.
To lure traffic, Google is offering daily specials that lower the prices on featured books, movies, and albums to as low as 25 cents apiece during the next week.
Since it opened in 2008, the Android Market had steadily grown along with the use of mobile devices running on Google’s Android software. The Android Market has amassed more than 450,000 mobile apps. Google also stocks more than 4 million books, including free titles, and more than 13 million songs and movies.
Still, the Android Market remained a notch below the digital bazaar that Apple Inc. started with its iTunes store in 2003. Since then, Apple has expanded beyond music into selling movies, books, newspapers, magazines, and textbooks.
Apple also offers more than 550,000 applications for its popular iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touches. More than 25 billion apps have been downloaded from Apple’s app store since it opened in July 2008 - nearly double the more than 13 billion apps Google says have been downloaded from the Android Market.
Amazon.com Inc., the Internet’s top retailer, also has been selling more digital content since it began selling the Kindle Fire for $200 in November. Amazon priced its minicomputer tablet $300 below the least expensive iPad largely because it views the device primarily as a digital sales tool.