The first 'Free App of the Week' was a USD 3 educational app from PBS with a set of games and activities for kids. But, Google seems to a littele late as other app stores, including Apple's App Store and Amazon's Appstore for Android, already offer such promotions.

Google Play was launched on March 6, 2012, with the merger of Android Market, Google Music, and Google eBookstore, marking a shift in Google's digital distribution strategy. The services operating under the Google Play banner are: Google Play Music, Google Play Books, Google Play Newsstand, Google Play Movies & TV, and Google Play Games.

The Google Play store has reached over 1.43 million apps published[4] and over 50 billion downloads.

Earlier, Google allowed its users to pre-register for upcoming Android apps. Interested users may simply tap the pre-register icon to show their interest. Pre-registration is free for Android customers, and there's no obligation to download or buy the app once it is live.

The process sets up an alert that prompts a user once the app is available. It is not a lock-in, since users can cancel their interest if they have a change of heart.