Google Throws Android Under the Bus with Google Play

Google Play

After a few years of battling Apple’s mobile platform and taking it on in a really serious way, it was starting to look like Google was achieving some parity with iOS. Sure, Android apps still aren’t downloaded as often and don’t return nearly as much income to mobile developers as iOS apps do (for me, Android represents only 10% of my total return when comparing the same apps that I’ve placed in the App Store and Android Market). But Android device purchases have skyrocketed, mobile app customers typically want both Android and iOS versions of their native apps, and companies doing mobile development often embrace both iOS and Android.

But unfortunately for many Android developers and customers, Google just threw their mobile platform under the bus this week by renaming Android Market to Google Play. Why?

Apps aren’t just entertainment

Look at the Google Play info screen above. “Play anywhere.” “All of your entertainment in one place.” Interesting… because as a mobile product manager in higher education — and an independent app developer for healthcare clients — exactly 0% of my mobile work is entertainment. Is Google telling me that the Android platform is not appropriate for my work?

Yes, they just did.

You don’t “play” apps

Worse yet, it seems like some marketing person who is completely unfamiliar with mobile apps has taken the reins of mobile marketing at Google. Because simply put, they didn’t get the verb right. You don’t play apps. You run apps. It’s a huge distinction.

And Google got their action verb very, very wrong.

Granted, apps that are games can be played. So, clearly, when people run an app that is a game, they probably say that they play that particular app. But apps are software running on small, pocket-sized and tablet-sized computers. You don’t play software. You run software. Particularly if it’s productivity or reference software.

In closing, I’ll end with an observation. Last week, several people at my company just spent a lot of time doing video production for a demo of our mobile app. The script noted that the app can be found in Apple’s iTunes App Store and Google’s Android Market. Now we get to redo that work.

But this is more than just sour grapes. Now the demo, for a higher education mobile application, will need to say “to keep in touch with your university courses, classroom discussions, faculty and classmates, and campus news, download our mobile app at Google Play.”

And I can’t even say that off-camera without getting a deeply disturbing feeling in my stomach.

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