Tag Archives: Google Play

Google Play makes its favorite songs of 2013 free today

google play twitter accountBefore going any further, I want to wish all of the GNC readers a happy New Year! To celebrate, many services are holding sales and even offering free options on this first day of 2014.

If you are an Android user, or simply a customer of Google Music, then you’ll want to head into the Play store today. The search giant has, not only unveiled its favorite 20 songs of the year that has passed, but is willing to give them away. Every single tune on the list is completely free today.

Songs include tracks CHVRCHES, Kanye West, Arcade Fire Bob Marley (not exactly new this past year) and many others. Aside from the music, the company also offers a few deals of apps and other items, but you’ll need to take advantage of the deals today, so don’t hesitate.

HBO A la Carte Option on Google Play


One of the biggest frustrations for cord cutters is they cannot get premium TV shows from HBO or Showtime. Well, HBO has changed that (in a way). Shows like Game of Thrones, the Newsroom, True Blood and more will be found on Google Play starting at $1.99 per episode. You can even get full seasons at $19.

HBO said this was just the beginning of their partnership with Google Play. According to an article on Engadget, they plan to put more content up soon – including older shows and documentaries.

A la carte options are very similar to what iTunes does. I used to get all my episodes of Mad Men and Breaking Bad for $35. Only downfall is I would have to wait 24 hours for the shows to be uploaded and cataloged in iTunes.

This also doesn’t void any contracts with cable companies.

HBO will be rolling this out in the coming months.

Google Play celebrates The Clash

The Clash did not start the Punk music movement, but the band helped define it in conjunction with others such as The Jam, Sex Pistols and The Damned. More than 30 years later, much of this music has survived the test of time and today Google Play is commemorating one of the most popular bands of the era.

the clash

As Google points out, “from the reggae-inspired social commentary of tracks like “White Man in Hammersmith Palais,” to hip-hop infused cuts like “Magnificent Seven” and even Top 40 hits such as “Rock the Casbah,” their songs gave a generation a lifelong connection not just to the Clash, but to music in general”.

In celebration of the re-release of some of The Clash’s most popular work, Google Play has teamed with the surviving members (Joe Strummer passed away in 2002) to produce a series titled Audio Ammunition and featuring unseen footage of the late Joe Strummer discussing the arc of the band’s career.

Part one of this five-part series can been seen on Google Play, and you can check out the other four parts on Play YouTube channel at youtube.com/googleplay. Digging out your London Calling album is optional.

Goodbye, Google Checkout. Closing November 20th

Google-CheckoutI remember when Google launched Checkout almost 7 years ago (June 29, 2006). The idea of combining checkout with search and advertising so you could online shop faster (and possibly buy more stuff) was an intriguing idea. I guess it just didn’t work too well.

Google announced they will retire Checkout payment processing tool on Nov. 20, and warned retailers they will need to move to a different payment processing platform.

Of course, we saw the writing on the wall as Checkout merged with Wallet back in November. Google hoped it would take on Paypal – which dominates online payment services at this time. Wallet is not going away – in fact it will become the focus of its Google Play store. Merchants will also be able to apply for Wallet’s “Instant Buy” feature.

Justin Lawyer, Senior Product Manager of Wallet posted on the blog that “shoppers can continue to use Google Wallet to make purchases on merchant apps and sites (such as Priceline, Uber, and Rue La La), as well as on Google properties, such as Google Play and Chrome Web Store. Just look for the Google Wallet button to make safer and more secure payments.”

Google updates Play Store, brings no major changes

Google regularly slips out updates to it’s Play Store for Android and sometimes those updates bring some major changes. Then again, sometimes the update is a boring behind-the-scenes little fix that takes care of bugs. Version 3.10.10, which showed up in the download channel today, seems to be the latter.

The latest Google Play download is all of 1.5 KB bigger than the previous version and, after installing it, I was hard-pressed to find a single cosmetic change. I did see one report that said “there are some tweaks to the in-app billing, checkout, and authentication code”.

With that said, any update to the Play store is certainly worth downloading and installing. You can do so right from your phone or tablet, but I find it easiest to download to my PC, plug in my phone, move the file over and then use an installer app like Easy Installer to get the app up and running. You can grab the .APK file from here.

Google Updates the Play Store to Version 3.10.9

Google is at it again.  The company has begun rolling out version 3.10.9 of their Play store for Android.  This updates comes closely on the heels of recent updates to versions 3.9.16 and 3.9.17.  Version 3.9.16 brought a number of new features, while the following update seemed to be more of a bug fix.

The new 3.10.9 has also brought along a number of new features including a new screen that pops up after you start installing a new app.  This screen is different than the one we become accustomed to seeing during an app installation as it now displays a “Users Also Installed” list that makes for easier discovery.  There is also a “Keep shopping” button that pops up at the end.

The update also a “Remove” icon that has been added to the Wishlist feature that was added back in 3.9.16.   Finally there is now a “Translate” button next to any app that includes a description that is not in your native language.

The update is rolling out gradually, but if you can’t wait then you can grab the .APK file now.

Android Apps Accelerate

When I got my first Android phone a bit over two and a half years ago, an HTC Evo from Sprint, the Android Marketplace was a confused and confusing place. The Apple App Store had the clear advantage. Android apps that did exist then were often clunky.

A lot has changed in two and a half years. Today, the aptly renamed “Google Play” store contains Android apps that very often match their Apple app counterpart in both they way they look and in their functionality. Google Play also contains a lot of other content for sale, including magazines, music and movies.

My HTC Evo had a limited amount of primary memory, so it was effectively limited in the number of apps that could be installed. As a result, I mostly ignored the app store because I couldn’t install anything new without giving up some other app or combination of apps in order to free up that memory. I experimented with apps mostly on my iPod and iPad. Since replacing my HTC Evo with a Samsun Galaxy S3, which has no similar memory issues, I have been experimenting with new apps like mad.

What I’ve found is that for the vast majority of apps I use on my iPod and iPad, there are Android versions of the same app. So, I am able to use apps right on the Galaxy S3 such as Flipboard, Skitch, MyRadar, Adobe Photoshop Express, etc., etc., etc. In other words, most of the apps that I use on my iPod and iPad now have Android versions of the same app that function, look and act the same as the iOS version(s).

The Google Play store is better organized than it used to be. One of the major advantages of Android over iOS devices is that the apps can be set up to automatically update without any user intervention. The automatic updates function like clockwork. One you’ve installed dozens or even hundreds of apps on a device, there are always several apps per day that have updates. With iOS devices, the update process must be initiated manually. Let your iOS devices sit a more than a day or two without updating them, and the apps needing updates rapidly escalates. With Android, the updates simply happen automatically and leave a pull-down notification of their success.

Apple still has a clear advantage when it comes to iPad apps versus the confusion that still exists in the realm of Android tablets. However, when it comes to phone devices such as the Galaxy S3, the app advantage once enjoyed by iOS has greatly lessened.

Competition is a wonderful thing for the consumer. It makes products far better. The explosion of hand-held computing devices and fast broadband wireless networks is resulting in a continuing explosion of future possibilities and possibilities realized.