Given its history of offering free services in exchange for runnings ads alongside them, Google is taking a step towards the pay-to-play model with the launch of its new iTunes equivalent: Google Play.

In its new content marketplace, you can buy music, books, and Android apps that will be available on both your computer and your mobile device. But unlike Gmail and almost all the other Google products, pretty much everything in Google Play will cost money. E-books that are no longer protected under copyright law, however, are all free. If you're an iPhone or iPad user, you'll be thankful for this exception, since only e-books are accessible on an iPhones or iPads, which is more than Google can say about Play's music and movies, which are not compatible iOS. 

And if having a place for books, music and Android apps doesn't sound like a new idea for Google that's because it isn't. Google Play is simply a fusion of Google Books, Google Music and the Android Market. The movies are new, and based on our quick glance at the news release, the selection looks pretty good. If only we could watch them on our Apple devices.