Google Play, also branded as the Google Play Store and formerly Android Market, is a digital distribution service operated and developed by Google. It serves as the official app store for certified devices running on the Android operating system and its derivatives as well as ChromeOS, allowing users to browse and download applications developed with the Android software development kit (SDK) and published through Google. Google Play has also served as a digital media store, offering games, music, books, movies, and television programs be. Content that has been purchased on Google Play Movies & TV and Google Play Books can be accessed on a web browser, and through the Android and iOS apps.
Applications are available through Google Play either free of charge or at a cost. They can be downloaded directly on an Android device through the proprietary Google Play Store mobile app or by deploying the application to a device from the Google Play website. Applications utilizing hardware capabilities of a device can be targeted to users of devices with specific hardware components, such as a motion sensor (for motion-dependent games) or a front-facing camera (for online video calling). The Google Play Store had over 82 billion app downloads in 2016 and reached over 3.5 million apps published in 2017, while after a purge of apps is back to over 3 million. It has been the subject of multiple issues concerning security, in which malicious software has been approved and uploaded to the store and downloaded by users, with varying degrees of severity.
Google Play was launched on March 6, 2012, bringing together Android Market, Google Music, Google Movies and the Google eBookstore under one brand, marking a shift in Google's digital distribution strategy. Following their re-branding, Google has expanded the geographical support for each of the services. Since 2018, Google has gradually sunsetted the Play brand: Play Newsstand was rebranded as Google News in 2018; Play Music was discontinued in favor of YøùTùbé Music in 2020; and Play Movies & TV was rebranded as Google TV in 2021. In 2022, Play Games is expected to shut down its mobile app in favor of an Android emulator for Windows with the same name. The remaining standalone mobile app will be Play Books.
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