Google Play celebrates first birthday with free download binge

Google Play has celebrated its first birthday, and instead of stuffing its face with hunks of jam roly-poly and ripping open presents, the Android shop is offering gifts to its users.

"It was just a year ago today that we launched this amazing shop on the interwebs to offer the best in digital content," the Google Play Team wrote on its site. "Since the best parties are the ones that send you home with a present, we celebrate our birthday with a festive goodie bag full of gifts."

Android owners can check the Play store all week long for limited-time deals on music, movies, books, magazines, TV shows, and games.

Game developers even joined the celebration, building special birthday surprises into their titles, including a limited-edition Monster Pet Shop Droid habitat and new Clouds & Sheep elements like fireworks, a slot machine, and cakes. The makers of Royal Revolt created an in-game birthday party, complete with a troop of Droids and a new confetti spell.

Check out more celebratory additions in the video above.

Some of the freebies so far include The Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane" track, the Breaking Bad TV pilot, LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends" song, and other game, film, book, and app offers.

"It's been an incredible first year and we look forward to sharing the gift of digital diversions for many more to come," Google said.

The Android Market actually launched in October 2008. Last year, however, Google re-branded it as Google Play, bringing the Android Market, Google Music, and its online eBookstore under the single, Google Play brand.

In December 2012, Distimo's year-end review found that Google Play experienced an aggregated daily revenue growth of 43 per cent across 20 of the largest countries where the store is available. Daily revenue for the Apple App Store grew 21 per cent in the same period.

Meanwhile, the search giant also announced the availability of Google Play gift cards in the UK, which will hit shelves at the likes of Tesco and Morrisons in the coming weeks. The cards will be available in denominations of £10, £25, and £50, redeemable for any Google Play digital content purchases.