Google Play gets video purchasing, TV shows, magazines

Google's store for Android apps and entertainment content gets a big upgrade at the Google I/O show. Also: faster app updates coming, and 20 billion downloads so far.

Google's Chris Yerga announces new Google Play features at the Google I/O show.
Google's Chris Yerga announces new Google Play features at the Google I/O show. Stephen Shankland/CNET

SAN FRANCISCO -- Google Play, Google's online market for Android apps, movies, music, and books, now lets people purchase movies instead of just rent them.

"We're also adding TV," announced Chris Yerga, an engineering director for Android, at the Google I/O show today here. "You'll be able to purchase episodes or entire seasons."

Google has partnerships for the service with a range of producers, including NBC Universal, Sony Pictures, Disney, Bravo, Paramount, Virgil Films, and Sundance, he said.

Also new are magazines, purchased individually or by subscription, he said. Google has deals with publishers including Conde Nast and Hearst.

The changes help make Google Play a better alternative to Apple and Amazon alternatives. And if all goes to Google's plan, it'll make devices like its new Nexus Q streaming-media device something more than an electronic paperweight.

So far, Google Play -- formerly called the Android Market -- has been used to install 20 billion apps, he said. Paid apps are available in 132 countries, and free apps are in 190 countries, he said.

More than 50 percent of app revenue comes from in-app billing, he added, in which people purchase things like new game levels.

Coming to the app store are two features: app encryption, which will be available with Android 41 aka Jelly Bean, and smart app updates, in which only the parts of an app that changed arrive when an update is downloaded.

"On average, with the most popular apps we looked at, a smart APK [Android installation file] update is about one third the size of a new update," Yerga said, which saves network bandwidth and battery power. "It's a win for carriers, developers, and users. We handle it automatically. It's supported for Gingerbread [Android 2.3] and above."

Featured Video

Why do so many of us still buy cars with off-road abilities?

Cities are full of cars like the Subaru XV that can drive off-road but will never see any challenging terrain. What drives us to buy cars with these abilities when we don't really need them most of the time?

by Drew Stearne