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 What’s the Difference Between Google Play Store and Google Store

Image Via HowToGeek

In the world of Google, you've probably seen two store names. Although the Google Play Store and the Google Store may look similar, they are very different. Each has an important purpose in the Google ecosystem.

What is the Google Play Store?

The Google Play Store - sometimes called "Google Play" - is its digital marketplace. Comes pre-installed on Android phones, tablets, and related devices. The Play Store can also be accessed on the web through any web browser.

The Play Store's primary goal is to serve as a place for Android users to download applications and games. In fact, it has been tagged the "Android Market." At one point, it only had Android games and apps, but as Google expanded it, that name didn't make much sense again.

As the platform grew to include e-books, music, and movies, Google renamed it "Google Play." Since some of the content was not exclusive to Android, it didn't make sense to be in the "Android Market” any longer.  Now all digital content from Google can be found under that umbrella.

So what is the content all about? As mentioned earlier, apps and games are the main items users get from the Play Store. Other categories include Books, Movies, TV, and The Play Store also had music, which changed with YouTube Music's announcement.

The simple way to imagine Play Store is that it is the place to download and buy any digital from Google.

What Is the Google Store?

While the Play Store is absolutely for digital content, the Google Store is its online marketplace for physical products. This includes Chromebooks, Chromecasts, Pixel phones, Nest devices, and some products from partners.

Until 2015, Google's few physical products could be bought in the Play Store on the "Devices" tab. As the company began to focus more on building "Made by Google" devices, it moved physical products to the dedicated Google Store. There's a "Devices" tab on the Play Store, but it's now connecting to the Google Store.

Products from Google can be purchased from several retailers, including Amazon and Best Buy. However, the Google Store sometimes gives more options and sales discounts. You can also get support for Google customers by browsing the Google Store, which is more likely to replace a defective device.

An equivalent of the Google Store is the Apple Store. It is a store owned by the company that produces the products sold. There are some products from partners in both cases, but most of the items come from the store owner.

Unlike the Apple Store, the Google Store is just an online marketplace. There are no real-world Google brick-and-mortar stores. You may find some Google sections in stores like Best Buy, but that's all there is.

The only exception to the rule in the Google Store is subscriptions. You can subscribe to services such as Stadia Pro, Google One, and YouTube Premium. These are subscriptions that usually match physical products.


The disparity between the Google Play Store and the Google Store is quite simple. The Play Store serves digital content, while the Google Store serves physical products.

The Google Marketplace started with the Android Market, evolved into the Play Store, and eventually adjusted to accommodate the Google Store. If you want to buy something in the Google ecosystem, these are the two main destinations.

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