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Google Play will show where you can stream before you buy

Before you purchase a TV show or movie from Google's online store, it'll show you streaming alternatives like Hulu or HBO (but not Netflix).


Google Play will show streaming options for movies and shows. 

Xiomara Blanco/CNET

Google Play, the search giant's online store, will start showing streaming-service options for TV and movie titles, providing more alternatives to buying outright, the company said in a blog post Tuesday. 

"There's no shortage of entertainment to enjoy online. With so many different streaming apps out there, it's not only challenging to figure out what to watch, but where and how to watch it," Ben Serridge, Google Play Movies & TV lead product manager, said in the post. "Google Play wants to change that."

Both Google Play's app for movies and TV, and the Play Store itself, will display streaming services that stream the show or movie you searched. "This Is Us," for example, will display options on Play Movies & TV, but also alternatives to watch it on NBC's app with a cable subscription or on Hulu. Tapping one of those options will send you straight to the app that lets you stream. 

Google Play will support more than two dozen streaming apps -- just not the biggest by subscribers, Netflix. The company said it will continue to add more partners over time. 

But it will include options from HuluHBO Now and HBO GoShowtimeAmazon Prime VideoABCCBSFOX NOWNBCDisney NowHGTVBET NowComedy Central and others

Google Play is also adding features designed to help you more easily find what you're in the mood to watch. It'll let you narrow down searches by genres, like comedy TV showsan award winning dramafamily movies, and you can give titles you've already seen a thumbs-up or -down so it can show you items similar to your past preferences. Google is also adding an option to save shows and movies to watch later, by long-pressing on any title to add it to a watch list. The service will show you when it becomes available to buy or rent on Play, if the price has recently dropped, or if it is now available to stream. 

The new features are rolling out to phones and tablets running on Google's Android system in the US over the next few days, the company said.

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