Is It Time to Say Goodbye to Google Play?

As Google's annual developers conference prepares to kick off tomorrow, it appears that the search giant may have one unexpected surprise up its sleeve: sunsetting Google Play. The awkwardly named brand, which was launched on March 6, 2012, brought together Android Market (now called Google Play Store), Google Music and Google eBookstore under one umbrella, eventually going on to encompass Google Play Books, Google Play Games, Google Play Movies & TV, Google Play Music, Google Play Newsstand, and Google Play Console.

But in the recent months Google has been quietly making changes that not so subtly hint at what's to come. Podcasts, which were initially residing inside Google Play Music, started showing up in Google app and Assistant for Android, while rumours about a revamped YouTube-based music-streaming service began doing the rounds. What's more, when Google launches Remix, supposedly the name for this new music streaming platform, it will be the end of Google Play Music, according to a report by Droid Life.

Even as Google gears up to rebrand its entertainment offerings centred around YouTube (YouTube TV, YouTube Gaming, YouTube Kids, YouTube Movies and YouTube Music), it also seems to be readying to kill Google Play Newsstand by integrating its features into Google News, which in turn is expected to be undergo a brand new redesign powered by AMP technology. Although a Google News redesign is surprising considering that the current design is less than a year old, the move nonetheless joins a list of steps Google has been taking of late to consolidate its varied offerings.

With YouTube being the most recognisable "social media" offering from Google, it's easy to see why an YouTube-branded entertainment service would make business sense. The Android app store will stick around, of course, and so will, Google Play Books, which could very well be folded back into Google Books, and likewise Play Movies & TV to YouTube Movies and Play Games to YouTube Gaming. We will know a lot more tomorrow, but if you are excited to know what to expect from Google's big show and its new design direction, head to Ars Technica for a quick rundown.