Google has begun adding a link for “Play” to the black toolbar that appears on all Google sites.
Last month, Google took the Android Market, combined it with Google Music and Google Books, and smushed them all together into a new service called Play. It seemed kind of like a random act of branding at the time.
But now we get it — imagine how much more cluttered the toolbar would be if it had “Music”, “Books,” and “Android Market” in them.
The Toolbar is perhaps the best symbol of Google’s transformation from search engine into Web portal — a single place where you can get to all of the services Google wants to promote.
Based on what happened at Microsoft when it started doing this with MSN years ago, expect various groups within Google to lobby heavily for prominent placement in that Toolbar. Whoever controls it is going to be getting a lot of invitations to Googlers’ summer cabins.
Here it is in my Gmail inbox: