24/01/2018 – 9:25am
Google Play has grown dramatically during the past five years. The switch from Android Market to Google Play was more than branding; since then movies and TV Shows, as well as hardware, have been added to the retail portal, alongside the standard apps and games.
But Google’s next project for Google Play is something I personally never saw coming – it’s going to start selling audiobooks. Just like Audible, which, of course, is owned by Amazon.
Audiobooks for Google Play is not yet official, but Google accidentally let it slip by posting a banner ad on the Play Store that said: “Audiobooks coming to Google Play” and “Get 50% off your first audiobook” – this wasn’t meant to be there, of course, but it has now very much let the cat out of the bag.
Prior to this leak, we’d heard nothing about Google’s plans to enter the audiobook space. This is literally the first piece of evidence and it comes, well, straight from the horses mouth, so to speak.
Can Google take on Audible though? It’s a big task – Audible has literally thousands of titles and an established install base. Catching up could year, unless Google is licensing pre-recorded titles which would make more sense.
The one area where Google could potentially compete is on price: Audible is pricey (around £18 for an audiobook), so if Google can undercut it in this respect, as well as ensure it has enough choice, it could well a few friends with this new service in 2018/19.
I listen to a lot of audiobooks, 99.9% of them via Audible, so while I am interested in this development, I can’t see myself changing services – it’s sort of like when Apple Music landed. I was never going to ditch Spotify for it, not after such a prolonged time of use.
Maybe Google has an ace up its sleeve for its audiobooks service? It’s certainly possible; there’s no way The Big G would just wade in without some kind of USP. Either way, all will become clear soon, as the service HAS to be close to getting official.
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