Google lets families share TV, movies, books and music

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by Larry Magid

In the old days, people would buy books and then share them with family members when they were done reading them. Or we’d get a movie or CD and get everyone in the same room to watch or listen together. Those days aren’t necessarily over but — these days — it’s pretty common for family members to experience media on personal devices in their place and time.

Google wants to enable that with its new Family Library that lets up to six family members share media purchased via the Google Play store for mobile devices, PCs and Macs and connected TVs such as those with Internet access or attached devices like Roku or Apple TV.

In a blog post, Raj Iyengar, a Google Play product manager, said “Today’s families have a lot of devices, and it should be easy to share content no matter where we are or what we’re doing.”

Share or don’t share

With the service, that’s rolling out starting today (click here to see if it’s available), you’ll be able to chose which items to share and have the option to share some but not other items. Iyengar said “I’ll probably keep my collection of comic books in my personal library,” which means that other family members won’t be able access them. It’s easy to imagine parents not wanting to share some content with their children. But, as far as I know it’s either share or don’t share. I’m not aware of a way to share media with, say, your spouse but not your kids.

Shared credit card and parental approval

When an adult in the family signs up, you select a credit card as your shared payment method and any shared items you wish to purchase must be billed to that card. Individual family members also have the option to purchase items with their own cards or gift cards that won’t be shared. Parents will have the option to approve any purchases made by their children.

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