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Google presses Play into navigation bar

Web giant adds a prominent button to its newly rebranded store combining apps, movies, music, and e-books.

Google adds Google Play to its navigation bar.
Google adds Google Play to its navigation bar.
Screen shot by Steven Musil/CNET

Google isn't playing around with Google Play.

A little more than two weeks after introducing the new source for movies, apps, music, and e-books, the Web giant has added Google Play to its black navigation bar, prominently sandwiching it between Maps and YouTube. And to make sure the new addition doesn't escape users' attention, Google has highlighted the new button with a bright red "NEW" tag alongside.

The new store, essentially a rebranded Android Market combined with Google Music and Google eBookstore, was unveiled earlier this month. Perhaps a tacit admission that Google's approach to digital content was fragmented, executives said at Google Play's debut that the new store is designed to break down the walls separating the company's disparate offerings.

Last week, my colleague Greg Sandoval reported that managers at Google Play are considering a plan to use the store to sell films. Google Play currently only offers movies for rental, but the company has shown an interest in giving owners of Android handhelds the option to buy, according to multiple film industry sources.

The nav bar has been a juggling act of late, but the button's prime real estate reflects the importance the company is placing on the new initiative. Intertwined among fan favorites Google Maps and search, Google Play joins Google Plus, the social networking effort Google has been working hard to boost user interest in.