Google Launching iTunes Rival Called Google Audio?

Talk about a furious pace – the economy might suck but Google obviously sees this as a pivotal time to boost their lead in software and services, entering new markets left and right. Today it was rumored by TechCrunch that Google is working on a music service, explained to me by Raji Aboulhosn:

The folks over at TechCruch are reporting that Google is planning on launching a new music service possibly called Google Audio. No word on whether Google Audio will be a streaming service or a download service. One thing that is pretty certain is that this will be different from the service that Google offers in China where users can search and download music for free. Over the past couple of weeks Google has been working with major music labels to get content ready for launch. While it’s probably too much to ask that the music be free, let’s hope it’s as cheap as Amazon’s MP3 store and features some nice integration. Stay tuned for further developments.

A reminder to all: Engadget reported in 2006 that Google was trying to acquire Napster to make a foray into the digital music world. Google denied it flat out. Probably a good idea they didn’t since the “coolness” of Napster quickly wore out following all the lawsuits and move to a paid platform. But nonetheless, interesting this type of move was rumored 3.5+ years ago. (Interestingly enough the same author of the Engadget article – Thomas Ricker – wrote about Google Audio on Engadget today)

google-audio

Think of all the new stuff Google have presented in the last year or two: Android, Chrome Browser, Chrome OS, Google Voice, Google Books, Google Wave, etc…. the list goes on and on. They are becoming an INCREDIBLY disruptive force in the technology world, forcing companies and consumers to rethink the way products and services are made, offered, delivered and used.

Remember how Google never had any monetization plans for Android? Google Audio could definitely be a way to monetize Android… but its separate. The same way Google has Maps, YouTube and other apps on Android, I’m assuming Google Audio would be bundled with Google experience phones. That is… if there IS  Andriod integration and if this IS real.

Why am I treating this as such a fact when yesterday I called people idiots for claiming Google was entering a new market?

  1. The source is credible
  2. For Google it is all about the software/service, not about the hardware/product. This is software.

As Raji said… stay tuned.

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  • DonnyIrish

    I think it’s just a normal step in procedure and available products that they look at audio, especially after video (youtube) and books. I think they’re progression is going to slow down here soon. It has to, right? What I’m hoping they don’t encounter is a stale growth period in the next year or two, only throwing out upgrades to existing Google products. Google has made it’s name by being a new, better service, no matter what that service was, and bringing the idea of “cloud-computing” to the technical round-table forefront. “Stay tuned”….the two most hated words next to “not tonight”. :)

  • jason

    Techcrunch is hardly considered a credible source. I’d say the tech community generally considers them just barely a step above tabloid journalism. They took a lot of flak for the last.fm debacle they reported on recently. Personally, I felt it was worthwhile to report on those rumors. In hindsight, the last.fm founders were just weeks away from announcing their future separation from from the project…and this may have contributed to some unsavory events similar to what was reported.

    That said, the reasoning you’ve detailed and some of the rumors gone by do make this rumor seem more credible than the amalgam of misunderstandings that were on display over @thestreet.

  • Kate

    Oh no, Andriod strikes again!

  • Rob

    I would rather have Google develop a program to sync apps and music to my devices (like an Android enabled phone) and then partner with Amazon.com or the like for an actual music store. Let Amazon.com worry about getting music for their store and Google handle syncing, and music management.

  • iHEART_android

    This is a would be great if used on the android phones. I own two ipod touch’s and I honestly hate them and itunes. Yes itunes was the first big music service on a so called smart phone (i.e iphone) but I never use itunes anymore, its laggy, buggy and slow as hell to download. (I have the fastest Internet speed available through comcast so its not the speed its itunes) I hope to see this in the future :)

  • tom

    What about movies? i don’t know of another site for downloading movies to a mobile device other than iTunes… It’d be nice to have a Google site that could provide HIGH QUALITY movies and not take a huge amount of space…

  • Eric

    Tom, don’t put it past Google to do whatever it takes to squash iTunes, including providing high quality movies, tv shows, etc.

    I see Google as the wrecking force against all things Apple, the way Microsoft should have been, but has failed miserably because they care way too much about the profits.

  • DonnyIrish

    Anyone else think there will be a Googlish Hulu/Tvokay version soon? Certainly possible.

  • Eric

    @tom – I was thinking the same thing… what the Android marketplace needs now is a really slick video store to download TV shows and movies directly to the phone. That’s another bulletpoint that the Ipod can’t hold over Android phones.

  • John

    One of the things I find lacking about the different solutions right now (iTunes, Amazon, Real, Hulu, even Netflix) is that no one offers a comprehensive solution.

    1) Offer all 3 of “Purchase”, “Rent”, and “Subscription” options. iTunes for example only offers the first two. Rhapsody, last I checked, only offers the third.

    2) Offer all of “Music”, “Movies”, “TV season anthologies (DVD packs), and “live/recent TV” (ie. Hulu). iTunes gives you the first three.

    3) Offer physical media (CD, DVD, Blu-Ray), download (mp3, mpeg, etc.), and streamed. And let people do multiples of the same (buy the physical media, and watch it streamed whenever they want, without paying a significant premium). Though, obviously, physical media would only go with purchases and rentals. Downloads would only work for rentals and subscriptions if you do it via DRM. (while I’m not a fan of DRM, rentals and subscriptions are a case where it seems like a necessary evil — just not on purchased copies).

    4) Even if you have Subscription, make sure you offer a way to do it when you’re without WWAN. I don’t want to suddenly lose my ability to watch a TV show just because I left an area with signal. Rhapsody’s dedicated devices seem to let you download content to take with you … but they don’t let you do that on non-dedicated devices (the Nokia N800 and N810). Probably due to lack of DRM.

    5) For subscription, give people a choice of “pay more, get to commercials” vs “pay a little (or free), but have to watch commercials”. Since this is Google, maybe they could even tie it in to their existing ad service. This would basically be like Hulu, except that you’d have the option to “pay and not have to watch the commercials”.

    6) Go the extra yard to get as much content as possible. Hulu and Rhapsody both have the problem that they aren’t very deep in their content. There are Rhapsody albums that are missing songs, for example. For this to really work, you have to get everything, from everyone. I want to be able to watch science and history channel shows, watch main network shows, listen to obscure b-side songs from the 80’s, watch cult movies from the 70’s and 80’s, etc.

    7) oh, and, obviously, make this available for Android from day 1. No “windows first”. Android first, then release for the rest (definitely: iPhone, Windows, Mac, Linux; maybe: Windows Mobile and Palm Pre) later.

    Give me all of that, and I’d be a loyal customer. I’ll even be sure I buy a second Android device for it (I have a G1 now; thinking about buying the Entourage eDGe when it comes out).

  • mikeeeee

    i have napster to go and would migrate in a heartbeat if google came out with something similar.

  • Till

    Describing TechCrunch and Arrington in particular as “credible” is a bit of a stretch, but sure, this is at least plausible.

    More so since we already know they’ve been trying to create a similar service for books. Google selling content is going to happen sooner or later.

  • Jeff

    For MP3’s you just pull your Micro SD put it in an adapter, how ever you want to plug it in your PC, after accessing the Micro SD then under the DCIM folder make a folder called Music and copy and paste your MP3’s the Music folder. Then remove the Micro SD from your PC and put the Micro SD back in the Droid and go to Music on the Droid and there you are.