Google Music Launches In U.S. – Look Out iTunes?

After a lot of hoopla and much anticipation, on November 16 Google finally launched its Google Music download store with a launch event in Hollywood, California. I haven’t started using it yet, because it’s currently only available to people in the U.S. and I’m based in Canada, but I’d like to pass on some interesting tidbits I’ve found out about the service.

Google Music is both a music player app and an online music retail site (called “Android Market”) for anyone to use with desktop browsers and mobile devices, and it is connected with a cloud-based digital locker service where you can store all your music files, not just the ones you buy through Google Music. It allows users to store and play up to 20,000 songs for free. There are some limitations, which I won’t much get into too here, but you can check that subject out further in Michael Muchmore’s November 16 article about Google Music on PCmag.com.

An interesting twist is that when you purchase a track or album through Google Music, you can share those tracks through Google+, which is their social networking and identity service. The person you share the track with can listen to the track without purchasing the song, but only once, and then after that they will be prompted to purchase it. Google’s stated objective is to continue to develop the sharing and connecting functions of Google Music within the Google+ app. Apparently Google seems to get that increasing ways for the public to interact with artists and music is really important.

Additionally, something they call the “Google Magnifier” blog (magnifier.blogspot.com), which is dedicated to Google Music, will promote some of Google Music’s Indie content on the retail site and there will be a synergy with YouTube so that YouTube promotions will coincide with promotions on both the retail site and the blog site.

According to Google, they will be gradually integrating Google Music with all the other aspects of the “Google experience” as well.

Interesting times. Let’s watch and see how the advent of this new service and Google’s push to make it stand apart impacts what other online music retailers like Amazon and iTunes do with theirs, not to mention what happens to their share of the online music market.

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