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Google Play: A year old and 700 million apps strong

To celebrate the first birthday of the Google Play store, Google is offering a bunch of discounts on movies, books, TV shows, and games. 

By Matthew Shaer / March 6, 2013

Google Play is a year old this week.

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A year ago this week, Google shuttered the old Android Market, and slapped a new name on its online store: Google Play

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And to celebrate the platform's first birthday, Google is making a good amount of content, from TV shows to MP3s, available for discounted prices. Among the offerings: The pilot episode of the AMC show Breaking Bad; a free copy of "A Quest of Heroes," a book by Morgan Rice; a 50-percent-off coupon for a download of Kung Fu Panda; and free in-game downloads for "Shipwrecked" and "Tiny Castle," among other games. (Full list of promo offers here.)

So no, it's not exactly an overflowing treasure chest of riches, but if you've got an Android device, it's still a pretty good deal. 

In a blog post today, Google noted that there are currently more than 18 million songs and 700,000 apps on the Google Play platform. By comparison, at last count, Apple was believed to have more than a million apps in its iTunes Store and 26 million songs

Do these numbers matter? Yes and no. It's why Google devoted so much of its blog post to the size of its Google Play store. 

Most consumers aren't just drawn to a phone – they're also drawn to the ecosystem. ITunes is sometimes derided as being too closed – hence the "Walled Garden" nickname – but it's incredibly simple to use, and it plays very well with Apple devices. It's also very large. With the introduction of Google Play, Google hoped to make the whole Android app downloading experience similarly palatable.  

"For Google," Darrell Etherington writes at TechCrunch, "growing the media ecosystem available in Play and making it available to a growing number of customers worldwide is a key element of making sure its ecosystem can compete with those offered by Apple and Amazon, and judging by these latest figures, it appears to be doing well in building the library."

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