For anyone who has logged onto the "Android Market" over the last week or so, it would have likely been obvious that a few things have changed. For starters, it should have been obvious that the green "Market" icon no longer exists, and in its place is a white and silver icon called "Play Store". So what does this all mean...
As you may have guessed, Google has decided to re-brand its content hub, most likely to facilitate the greater amount and wider variety of content that is now available. Since its inception, the variety of content available in the Android Market has gradually increased. It will now not only cater for apps but:
and who knows what else. The new label of “Play” is an obvious attempt by Google to try to capture the new variety of content that is available on android devices, under a catchier banner than “Android Market”.
Was the name change to Google Play store necessary?
I doubt Apple would ever “gloss up” its market place. I suppose in Android's case it was necessary considering their expansionism. I didn't actually think there was anything wrong with the name “Market”. At the end of the day, even with the new content, it still had to be obtained through a “Market”. This was an obvious choice. In contrast, when I think of obtaining a new app or book, I don’t think of “Playing” that app or “Playing” a book. The word “Play” is a neater fit for gaming, music and video content, but when apps make up the largest majority of the store, the choice of “Play” seems strange. Ultimately though, I am probably reading far too much into this!
Could the change cause confusion and hurt the “Play Market” in the long run? Probably not. Only those who never use the market in the first place could be confused, but for those who spend hours every week hunting for the newest apps (as I imagine my readers do), the change will not cause any long term dis-orientation. The change is also an obvious sign from Google that they are looking to take on the all-encompassing nature of iTunes, under a singular and united banner. In that regard, the re-brand is great, as long as Google sticks with it. The key will be to keep current branding intact and give users a chance to get use to the new branding.