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March 27, 2012

Google Play, Added to the Navigation Bar

There's a new service in Google's navigation bar: Google Play. The link replaces Google Music and it's prominently placed next to popular services like Google Maps and YouTube. For now, the link takes you to the Google Play homepage and your query is ignored.

It's interesting to notice that Google's navigation bar changed its purpose from showcasing popular services to promoting new services. Ever since it was launched, Google+ became the first service from the navigation bar, even if Google Search was the most popular service. Then Google added links to services like Google Offers, Google Wallet and a page that lists Google's mobile apps.

Google Play is more than a new name for Android Market, it's Google's attempt to sell digital content across different platforms: from apps to music, from books to movies, from magazine subscriptions to TV shows and more. It makes sense to integrate Google Play with Google Search and maybe include the top results in an OneBox, assuming that they're relevant.

{ Thanks, Joshua, Kartik, Thomas, Marian, Shimmy, Matan and TechDows. }


  1. replace it with google reader and I am a happy man. I buy my apps on the phone, thank you. Or at least bring all the movies and music to Europe all right. Oh, and combine the chrome store and google play. It's about time to make things really easier...

  2. Yes. google play comes to nav bar.

  3. Well, what's the point of doing this?
    I access my app by my Android phone, other contents is even NOT available out of US.
    It's totally waste of the pixels.

    1. Play is useful for those who have an Android device, or live in USA (or both).

      I live in Europe, but I have an android device, so Play link is ok for me, the problem is that they are showing it to Everybody here, even people with no Andoird devices, this is the most USELESS thing thing, as there is no need to see Apps for a device they don't own, and other than that there is no use: No books, No music, No movie rentals !!!!

  4. Not only do I not have Play on the top nav bar, I don't have most of the items you show in your photo. Why? I've always had only +(myname), Mail, Calendar, Documents, Sites, Groups, and More. I've never even had a link to Search before and that has always seemed ridiculous to me to not have a link to Search when I'm checking my Gmail.

    So how is it that you have Maps, and News, and Search, and other goodies all show up in your nav bar? Or, why do I not have any of them?

  5. Unfortunately, they've buried Google Scholar. You can't get to it either on the navigation bar nor on the "more" bar.

    Google has been waging a war of attrition on usability. I should start catalog them. Some things that bugged me: the way that the chat window is buried in the lower-left hand corner of Gmail, and you have to play whack-a-mole to get it out. The fact that when you merge contacts in Google Contacts, it doesn't let you select which information from the two records to keep. The fact that you can't manage membership in the "new" Google Groups interface. The way that Google Cloud Connect doesn't make it clear which version is overwriting which when there's a conflict. I could go on...

    1. You can always use gtalk offline or use the web app. It's hidden because you do not want it to overshadow your email do you? But it does show you how the final contact will look like and allow you to delete info or rearrange them.

    2. The problem is, if I don't remember the information in the field that it chose not to merge, I have to hunt around for it. Compare that to, say, the behavior of Zotero when merging duplicates. This is basic stuff - Google is just being lazy (or parsimonious with resources.)

      The problem with gtalk could be solved without overshadowing email, or even with a pin. It doesn't have it. There are workarounds, but the point is that there shouldn't have to be. Google's competitors are getting this down - why can't Google?

      Essentially, a lot of 20%-itis.


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