Google has announced today that physical gift cards for its digital app and media distribution platform, Google Play, can now be purchased in the United Kingdom.

As with Apple’s gift cards for iTunes or the App Store, these vouchers can be used to purchase new apps, games, books, movies, music and magazines from Google Play, both from an Android device via the Google Play app, or the web by logging onto play.google.com.

Google has announced that to begin with, they will be available in the UK branches of Tesco and Morrisons, two of the most popular supermarkets in the country. Provided the scheme is successful, we wouldn’t be surprised if they were then sold at other street retailers and supermarkets too.

Google Play Gift Cards 520x269 Google Play gift cards launch in the UK, available for £10, £25 and £50 in Tesco and Morrisons

For now the gift cards can be bought with either £10, £25 or £50 pre-loaded, which is almost identical to the pricing structure used by Apple. It makes sense though, as in the UK £10 is seen as a pretty traditional amount to give someone as a gift, while anything more than £50 is arguably a bit excessive.

Google Play gift cards were launched in the United States last August, so a release in the United Kingdom was always likely.

We noted earlier this week that Google had posted extensive details of the cards on one of its support pages. Android Central had also picked up on a dedicated, but not quite fully functioning website back in January, hinting at the launch of UK gift cards before today’s official announcement.

Google no doubt wants the Google Play store to be as successful – if not more so – than Apple’s iTunes and App Store. So far, the Android platform hasn’t attracted the same level of purchases found on iOS though, in part due to the quality of content on offer, but also the increased level of piracy for apps and games.

Physical gift cards are a small, but significant step forward to improving the Google Play brand and making sure that everyday consumers know what it can offer. If someone is given a gift card, they’re almost guaranteed to at least peruse the store, which is half the battle for Google at the moment as they try and improve Google Play’s awareness.

Image Credit: KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/GettyImages