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Play movies, read a book or listen to music from the cloud with Google Play

Last year Google introduced the Android Market for Android apps and later Google Music for streaming music. Recently Google added a couple of more products to their catalog and combined them with the Android Market and Google Music. You can stream not only music but also your favorite movies and books from the cloud with Google Play.

Introduction screen for Google Play
Introduction screen for Google Play

With Google Play, you can watch a movie, read a book, or listen to music on multiple platforms. You can access your movies, books and music from any browser with an internet connection. To view movies, books, and listen to music on an Android-based device, you'll need the Play Movies, Play Books, and Music apps from Google.

The main screen for Google Play
The main screen for Google Play

Remember that you have to have a Gmail account to gain full access to Google Play. Here's a quote from their site:

Play Anywhere

All your entertainment in one place
Google Play is your one-stop shop for all your favorite entertainment. With over 450,000 apps, millions of songs and books, and thousands of movies, Google Play has something for everyone. Before you decide what you want, sample a song or book for free, view app ratings, reviews, and screenshots, or watch a movie trailer. Google Play is a more connected, powerful experience.

The power of the cloud
How cool would it be if your entertainment was just available anywhere? Now it is. Buy a book on your Android phone and read it on the web at play.google.com. Buy a new album on your Android tablet and listen to it on your desktop at work. Rent a movie online and watch it anywhere on your phone. That’s the beauty of the cloud. You can read, listen and watch all your favorite content anywhere you want. No software required and no wires or syncing needed, and the best part - Google Play cloud is free to use.

Share what you love
Discover, shop, enjoy, and share music, movies, books, and apps anytime, anywhere. When you discover an amazing song, a nail-biting thriller or memorable movie, the first thing you want to do is share it with your friends. On Google Play sharing your favorite entertainment just got easier. You can easily share posts about your favorite books, music, movies, games or apps to your circles on Google+, email, or text message in a single click.

For more information on Google Play, follow the links below.

Google Play

Google Play Features

Streaming music from the cloud for free with Google Music

Updated November 20, 2020

Note: In October 2020, Google shut down the Google Play Music service and recommended users transfer their accounts to YouTube Music. All of the links in this article have been changed to YouTube Music.

Google recently introduced a new music service into its catalog of products called Google Music. With Google Music, you can store all of your music to your account on Google's servers and stream it back to your favorite device. Google Music gives you space for 20,000 songs, which roughly comes out to around 100 gigabytes of storage for free!

My library on the Google Music website
My library on the Google Music website

You can access your music from any browser with an internet connection, or you can use the Google Music Android app. There are two ways of getting songs into Google Music. You can download free music or purchase music from the Android Market. Or you can use the Music Manager program from Google to download / upload music to / from your computer. A few of the cool features are Auto Playlists (any song you have Thumbs up'd), Instant Mixes (a quick mix of 25 songs), and Playlists. And with free / purchased music, you can share a listen with your circles on Google+.

The Google Music Manager interface
The Google Music Manager interface

Music Manager is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. There is one restriction on types of music files; only MP3 format is allowed to be uploaded. And you will need to have the latest version of Flash for the Google Music website. Here's a quote from the website:

Google Music stores all of your music online so that you can save space on your computers and mobile devices and easily access your collection from anywhere you want to listen.

Use Google Music to browse and search your library, easily create playlists, rate your favorite songs, edit song information, and more. Since your music collection is online, you don’t need to worry about syncing these changes across your devices.

Storage

  • Android Market purchases - Free and purchased music is automatically saved to your Google Music library and does not count towards your storage limit.
  • Your personal collection - You can add up to 20,000 songs to Google Music from your PC, Mac, or Linux computer, free of charge. All you need to do is download a simple desktop application called Music Manager to the computer where you keep your music. Music Manager can upload your iTunes and Windows Media Player library, playlists, playcounts, ratings, and more.

For more information on Google Music, follow the links below:

YouTube Music

Learn to build and deploy Android apps with the Google App Inventor book

Do you want to build an Android app and don't know where to start? Are you overwhelmed by all of the information on Google App Inventor? Then look no further than the Google App Inventor book by Ralph Roberts and Packt Publishing Ltd.

Cover page for the Google App Inventor book
Cover page for the Google App Inventor book

This book makes it easy to install Google App Inventor on Mac, GNU/Linux, and Windows to packaging apps for the Android Marketplace. Ralph's step-by-step, hands-on approach to teaching is both entertaining and informative.

An excerpt from the Google App Inventor book
An excerpt from the Google App Inventor book

The Google App Inventor book covers in-depth blocks, components, and the concepts behind them. The writing is concise and straightforward with learning aids like 'What just happened' and 'Pop quiz'. I found the 'Have a go here' sample projects outlined in the book to very educational and fun. Ralph also includes a free six-button template as a bonus. Here is an excerpt from the book itself:

As to prior knowledge and programming experience needed in creating apps and publishing them to places such as the Android market, you need practically none! This is the truly beautiful part of AI: its visual interface allows anyone from elementary school kids to us older people to make apps from the beginning without special knowledge.

Google App Inventor by Ralph Roberts is available in both print and e-book format from Packt Publishing Ltd. For more information, follow the links below:

Google App Inventor Book
Packt Publishing Technical & IT Book and eBook Store

Google opens web based Android Market

The one thing I love about my Android-based smartphone is the availability of applications for it. And finding and installing Android applications just got easier. Google has recently opened a web-based version of the Android Market.

The Google Android Market website homepage
The Google Android Market website homepage

The website is clean and easy to navigate, with clearly marked tabs. I found the amount of applications to be the most available for Android based hardware anywhere. I found quite a few that I had never seen on the Verizon version of the Android Market application.

A typical application category list
A typical application category list

I browsed through a few categories and found an application to download. Remember that you have to be signed in to your g-mail account associated with your phone to install any applications. I clicked on install and got the following prompt asking for the installation location. I selected my phone and clicked install.

Android Market application installation screen
Android Market application installation screen

I got a confirmation that the app would be downloaded to my Android.

Android Market download confirmation screen
Android Market download confirmation screen

I checked my phone and sure enough, on the status bar on top was an icon indicating an app had been installed. A quick check confirmed the installation of the application.

This is, by far, the easiest way to find and install Android applications I have found to date. Hands down the best! If you have an Android powered device, I highly recommend you go over to Google Play and take a look around.

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