Google launched their Google Play feature this week with the hope of further consolidating and integrating their ever growing product portfolio. But for regular Google users, and anyone who isn’t following the tech world closely, deciphering the purpose of Google Play can be a bit tricky.

That’s not surprising given the fact that Google Play covers everything from online gaming to Android Apps and even movie rentals. If you’re still trying to figure what to make of that new feature on your new black Google toolbar, here are some Google Play basics.

Big Picture Branding

Google Play may mean a lot of different things to different people, but it just means one thing to the brains at Google, a serious branding effort. In their efforts to compete with everyone from Amazon to Apple, Google has been spreading their marketing efforts pretty thin.  This new strategy hopes to bring all of the various Google brands, especially Android under one roof.

Thanks to plenty outside app development, consumers are starting to forget the connection between the search engine giant and the Android smart phone operating system. That’s why the old Android marketplace is now housed in the Google Play brand.

But Google Play is a lot more than just a place to download smart phone apps.

Music and Movies

Over the past few years Google has been making a serious effort to compete in the media marketplace against such Internet giants as Amazon, iTunes, and Netflix. That’s a pretty big job but Google definitely has the resources to compete.

Google Play users can buy, and rent,  movies and music through the service and play them back from any web enabled device. Music users can also upload a library of as many as 20,000 of their own songs to use in the same way. If it takes off, this feature could provide serious competition for existing media services, including Spotify. But that’s a pretty big “if.”

When it comes to search engines, Google is the top dog, but they’ve had a lot of trouble competing in other areas, including social media. Google Plus, their Facebook alternative has not exactly caught fire.

Games
One area where Google Play might find some real success is in the social gaming space. Last year Google teamed up with Bwin Party Poker to create a webcam enabled poker application for Google Hangouts. The system is still in Beta Development, but it’s not a huge stretch to see that turn into something that eventually turned into something that’s competitive with Zynga’s Texas Hold ‘Em.

It’s less likely that we would see Google entering the real money gambling market should online poker become legal in the U.S., but it shouldn’t be written off entirely. If nothing else, Google would have a turnkey system in place if they did elect to take that road.

What it Means for Affiliates
In its current form, Google Play isn’t much of a game changer for the affiliate marketing world, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. Google isn’t always as interested in developing new revenue sources as they are in keeping eyeballs on their biosphere. But if real money gaming comes to Facebook, all bets are off.

Will you be using Google Play? Let us know in our General Discussion Forum.


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