- Google Play is the official online store for Android devices.
- You can download various forms of media onto your Android devices through Google Play.
- Google Play contains apps and games, Google Play Books, and Google Play Movies & TV.
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If you’re new to Android devices, you might be wondering: What is Google Play, and do I actually need it?
The short answer: Google Play is Android’s official online store, and it includes Google Play Books, and Google Play Movies & TV. (There used to be Google Play Music, but that’s been discontinued.)
Even if you don’t make use of those options, Google Play Services is actually part of what keeps your device running, so it’s vital for Android users.
Here’s what you need to know about each segment of Google Play.
What is Google Play?
Google Play, also known as the Google Play Store, is where you can download or buy millions of apps, games, and other media onto your Android device. You can find programs for a wide array of interests.
You can download apps or games by navigating to the app or game page within the Play Store and tapping Install. Many apps will be free, some will have in-app advertisements, some will cost money, while others may offer in-app purchases, or a combination of any of these things.
For those who are interested, there is the Google Play Pass, which allows you to download hundreds of apps and games for free, without ads or in-app purchases. It costs $4.99 per month (or $29.99 per year). It can also be shared with up to five other family members.
Google Play Books
This is the book section of Google Play, and it includes both ebooks and audiobooks. You’ll find a wide variety of options when it comes to types of books, too, from literary fiction to children’s books to textbooks.
And if you’re partial to audio-narrated books, there’s a selection of free audiobooks available as well.
Google Play Movies & TV
Google Play Movies & TV is where you can buy or rent movies (including early access to new releases) and TV shows and download them to your Android device. If you rent, you have 30 days to watch it or 48 hours once you begin watching your rental before it expires. When it comes to TV shows, you can usually either buy individual episodes or you can download a full season.
Google Play Services
Google Play Services is an app that is built into Android devices. It’s used to update Google apps and apps from Google Play, so it’s important to keep your devices functioning properly. For example, it’s responsible for:
- Authenticating your Google services, like Google Maps
- Synchronizing contacts
- Accessing the latest user privacy settings
- Running location-based services
In other words, don’t uninstall it if you want to keep your Android devices running as it’s supposed to.
Devon Delfino is a Brooklyn-based freelance journalist specializing in personal finance, culture, politics, and identity. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Los Angeles Times, Teen Vogue, Business Insider, and CNBC. Follow her on Twitter at @devondelfino.