Up to six users can now share content bought on Google Play on their Android devices. This is thanks to the introduction of Google Play Family Library which is now rolling out to users around the world.
With Google Play Family Library, a user can let up to 5 other people to access content like movies, books, apps and games bought on Google Play as long as the content is eligible for family sharing.
Users (in this case the admins/managers of the family subscription) get to decide the exact content they want shared with other family members. The family members, on the other hand, can go out and purchase their own content.
Interestingly, a core part of the Google content ecosystem, music, is excluded from this arrangement – sort of. Google Play Music has its own family sharing arrangement which went live long before today’s announcement by Google. Through it, users can add up to 5 other members who get to enjoy free access to Google’s subscription-based music service. However, other than streaming music, purchases made for items like music albums and individual tracks cannot be shared. If you need to do that, you will need to part with $15 for a shared family subscription on Play Music.
While Google Play Family Library is all about bringing family sharing to all Android users and their devices certain content that is not restricted to the Android platform like movies, TV shows, and books can be consumed on iOS devices and on the web as well through a user’s Google account.
We first got wind of Google’s plans to bring family sharing to its mobile platform back in May. Google’s rivals like Apple, Microsoft and Amazon all allow their users to share content through elaborate family sharing plans. Apple, for instance, lets users of its any of its devices be they Macs, iPhones, iPods, iPads, Apple TV and even PCs with the iTunes software installed share their purchased content (apps, books, videos) with others in groups of up to 6 people. Unlike Google, Apple lets users share any songs and albums bought on its iTunes store.
Apple’s music streaming service, Apple Music, had family sharing as one of its main selling points when it launched last year.
While Google Play Family Library just went live, it may take a while to be opened up for everyone with only a handful of countries being part of the initial rollout. Users in markets like Kenya, for instance, will have little to look forward to since videos (TV shows and movies) and books are not yet available and access to Google Play is only restricted to games and apps.