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article imageGoogle Music launches, will allow social music sharing

By David Silverberg     Nov 16, 2011 in Internet
Tonight, Google launched its online music service, featuring the ability to listen to songs on Android devices and the Google+ social network. It's unclear when Google Music will be available outside the U.S.
The world's largest search company is playing catch-up to rivals such as Apple, Facebook and Amazon with the launch of Google Music. The service is similar to Apple's iTunes, allowing you to buy songs for $1 to $1.29, and store purchased songs in a cloud-like storage area. It also features a built-in player similar to iTunes.
The library can hold up to 20,000 songs. The "market" - what Google are calling its music store - is open now and is coming to Android phones/tablets "in the coming days."
"Google Music is about new ways connecting artists with their fans," Jamie Rosenberg, head of digital development for Android, said at the launch.
Google has inked deals with EMI, Universal, Sony but not Warner, who represents artists such as Cher and Green Day. There are also many independent labels involved, up to 1,000.
Today's launch will also see the introduction of a social sharing function, according to the launch. Friends can check out each other's purchased songs and listen to a buddy's song once (unlike iTunes, where you can't see what your friends bought). The song will appear in the Google+ stream and anyone can click the song and listen to the song once. The same procedure is replicated on Android devices.
Tech analysts believe selling online music won't boost Google's revenue, Reuters writes, but "they say Google needs to be in the market to ensure that its mobile efforts based on Android can match offerings from competitors such as Apple and Amazon."
What's uncertain is Google Music's availability in countries such as Canada and the U.K. Only available in the U.S. for now, Google Music will have to sign deals with international record labels to allow users to legally buy songs.
More about Google Music, social music, Itunes, Songs, Amazon
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