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article imageGoogle Play Store turns five years old

By James Walker     Mar 6, 2017 in Technology
The Google Play Store is five years old today, having evolved from the app-only Android Market to a sprawling digital store frequented by one billion people in 200 countries worldwide. Google celebrated by rounding up the most successful media so far.
Single store
Google officially unveiled the Play Store on March 6 2012. It replaced the company's disparate selection of Android apps for purchasing individual kinds of content. The Android Market, Google Music and Google eBookstore were combined into the all-encompassing Play Store, giving you a single destination for every kind of media.
At launch, 450,000 apps and games were available. That has now grown to "millions" of apps, alongside 40 million songs and five million books. It's all available from the unified Play Store app installed on Android phones, tablets, watches and now Chromebook laptops.
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Images of upcoming Google Play Store redesign  October 2015
Images of upcoming Google Play Store redesign, October 2015
Kirill Grouchnikov [Google+]
To mark its fifth birthday, Google has released a new set of top five lists for the top-performing media on the Play Store to date. Leading the apps chart is Facebook, followed by Facebook Messenger and Pandora Radio. Instagram and Snapchat come in fourth and fifth respectively. In the games list, Candy Crush Saga, Subway Surfers and Temple Run 2 hold the podium positions, followed by Despicable Me and Clash of Clans.
The Interview is the top-selling movie, leading Frozen and Deadpool in second and third place respectively. Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes fourth with Guardians of the Galaxy in fifth. The albums chart sees Adele's 25, Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP2 (Deluxe) and Taylor Swift's 1989 gain the top spots, with Drake's If You're Reading This It's Too Late and Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly coming in fourth and fifth respectively.
"Distribution platform"
The Play Store was developed as a rival to Apple's rapidly growing App Store. Five years later, the two ecosystems remain the biggest in the world. Overall, Google's is larger but Apple manages to make more money.
Google s best apps of 2015 collection [UK edition]
Google's best apps of 2015 collection [UK edition]
As a content destination, Apple has gained the upper hand as it's been selling digital content for over a decade. Google is pioneering in emerging sectors of digital entertainment though, including virtual reality. The Play Store is expanding to access new frontiers of technology, reaching additional users along the way.
"In five years, we’ve grown to more than 1 billion active users in 190 countries," said Google. "And with millions of apps, 40 million songs, 5 million books, and more movies than ever, there’s so much to explore. Google Play has also become an important distribution platform for developers to build their global audience."
"Just the beginning"
Evolution of the Android Market to 2015 Google Play refresh
Evolution of the Android Market to 2015 Google Play refresh
Kirill Grouchnikov [Google+]
In its five-year tenure, the Play Store has gradually evolved through a selection of interfaces, flattening over time to meet industry trends. The last overhaul came in 2015 when the app was overhauled to use Google's Material Design language. Less minor revisions are frequently released, such as an update rolling out this week that includes an improved app download progress page.
Five years after abandoning the restrictive Android Market and its plethora of multimedia apps, Google said it's only just "beginning" with the Play Store. As the store comes to more Chromebooks and begins to fill with virtual reality content, the company is pitching Play as the go-to media solution.
More about Google, play store, App store, Smartphones, Mobile
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