There are numerous differences between Apple’s content ecosystem and Google’s. One of the biggest: through iTunes, Apple offers a unified and arguably superior experience. Whatever you’re looking for, be it music, apps or books, can be purchased and downloaded in a single place.

This apparently hasn’t been lost on Google, which today announced that it’s combining Android Market, Google Music and the Google eBookstore into a single entity dubbed Google Play.

A post on the official Google blog explains:

Entertainment is supposed to be fun. But in reality, getting everything to work can be the exact opposite—moving files between your computers, endless syncing across your devices, and wires…lots of wires. Today we’re eliminating all that hassle with Google Play, a digital entertainment destination where you can find, enjoy and share your favorite music, movies, books and apps on the web and on your Android phone or tablet. Google Play is entirely cloud-based so all your music, movies, books and apps are stored online, always available to you, and you never have to worry about losing them or moving them again.

With Google Play, the Mountain View-based company now offers consumers some 450,000 apps, thousands of movies and millions of songs and ebooks in a single location. That, for obvious reasons, the company hopes will not only create a better content consumption experience for consumers, but also encourage consumers to consume (read: purchase) more content.

In an effort to get consumers hooked, Google is running a special sale under which selected content will be available at a hefty discount.

The big question, of course, is whether Google Play will actually give Google’s ecosystem a boost. Rolling apps, movies, music and ebooks into a single property is a smart, and frankly, long overdue, move. And Google Play is arguably a better moniker for such a property than, say, iTunes, which was conjured up when Apple’s ecosystem was music-focused.

But the devil is always in the details and the problems with Google’s content system haven’t been limited to the fact that there were multiple properties for different content types. With apps, for instance, Google’s payment solution, Google Checkout, has been the subject of criticism, forcing Google to look at alternative payment methods like carrier billing. Obviously, having a smooth purchasing experience is crucial and with this in mind, Google Play is probably just the first in a number of moves the search giant needs to make to compete with Apple.