Google today added a new feature to Google Play called Family Library. In short, Family Library lets up to 6 people share Google Play purchases across their devices — all you have to do is sign up and add family members. The new option is rolling out over the next 48 hours in 12 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the U.K., and the U.S.
“Eligible” apps, games, movies, TV shows, and books bought on Google Play can be shared across Android devices with no additional sign-up fee. Movies, TV shows, and books can also be accessed on iOS devices and the web.
So what makes content “eligible” for family sharing? Timing is everything: All apps and games purchased after signing up for Family Library are eligible. For past purchases, whether you can share them will depend on whether Google’s partners opted in for the feature.
Google sees Family Library as an expansion of the Google Play Music Family Plan it launched in December. The company wouldn’t say how many people signed up for it, merely noting that it has seen “great success.” The plan, which you can sign up for starting today on the web in addition to your Android device, is being rolled out to four new countries (Ireland, Italy, Mexico, and New Zealand) on Thursday.
But the Family Library is a much bigger play than a simple shared subscription plan. When you sign up, you can select a credit card to share as your family payment method, though everyone can still buy stuff with their personal credit cards or gift cards.
Not everything you buy has to be shared. Family Library lets you choose which items you want to share and which to keep to yourself. For your younger family members, parents have the option to approve purchases.
Google is making a bold move here. While this could save families a lot of money, the company is probably betting that Family Library will increase purchases overall: “Oh, I wasn’t going to buy it for myself, but because everyone in the house will be able to access it, then sure, why the hell not.”