Google may soon launch Apple iTunes rival

Google reportedly testing Google Music, which could be part of a broader social platform

Reports are swirling around the Internet that Google is in the advanced stages of testing a music service that could one day rival Apple iTunes.

The latest reports the the company is internally testing the service, dubbed Google Music, come just weeks after a developer at the XDA Developers forum noted online that he stumbled upon Google Music when he fired up the Honeycomb version of Google's Android operating system on a smartphone.

Both reports come amid ongoing online murmurings that Google is working away on a social networking platform behind closed doors.

For months now, online chatter has focused on whether Google is secretly trying to build its own social network, which would focus on gaming, music and/or movies. Potential names for the service include Google Me and Google Circle.

Analysts say Google Music is not likely to be the social platform that the industry has been anticipating.

However, some do note that it could be a big piece of Google's social puzzle.

"I don't see this serving as Google's primary, stand-alone social networking service with which it will compete with Facebook et al," said Brad Shimmin, an analyst with Current Analysis.

"That won't preclude Google from releasing a broader, general social networking platform. If anything, this music service will incorporate social networking facilities, perhaps tying into... any potential Google offerings, such as the rumors surrounding a Google Me service," he added.

Hadley Reynolds, an analyst with IDC, agreed that Google Music won't be the company's social platform. "The music service category is well-defined on its own terms at this point," he said.

Reynolds said it would be a good idea for Google to take on Apple and its popular iTunes service. While iTunes has had a significant head start, a similar service from Google for Android devices could chip away at Apple in a lucrative business.

"The iPod and iTunes, and later the iPhone and the iPad and iTunes, has given Apple close to a decade to define this mobile music experience in its own terms," said Reynolds. "The proliferation of Android devices is creating a customer base that will pull Google into competition with Apple in these areas."

And this might be a good time for Google to go after iTunes as Apple must make moves to fend off competition on another front as well.

Amazon.com announced today that its new Cloud Drive online storage service will enables users to store music in the cloud and, in the U.S., stream it to an Android app.

Previously, Amazon has offered an MP3 store where customers can buy music using a Web browser or the MP3 app for Android, which now includes the Cloud Player functionality.

That means Google, Apple and Amazon may just be vying for a lot of the same customers.

"Interestingly, both Google and Amazon target the Android device as their player of choice, which in a way does encourage greater competition between Android and iOS in terms of offering customers with a rich music experience on both devices," said Shimmin.

Shimmin said Google has a good shot at making a go of a music service if it's able to build a strong record label ecosystem.

"I don't think this can turn into a losing proposition for Google," he added. "I think it's an important move to further secure and bolster Android's popularity as a mobile device capable of matching Apple's iOS blow for blow."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

Read more about web 2.0 and web apps in Computerworld's Web 2.0 and Web Apps Topic Center.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags internetGoogleFacebookApplesearch enginesInternet SearchWeb 2.0 and Web Apps

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?