Google launches music store

Google gets musical

Google is launching a new music store for Android in what basically amounts to a direct challenge to iTunes.

The Google music store in Android Market offers over 13 million tracks from all of the major record labels - except Warner Music, home to artists such as Prince and Green Day. After it has launched 'over the next few days', users will be able to access the store from Android devices or computers and download MP3s for comparable prices to iTunes.

Google Music goes mainstream

At the same time, Google Music has been officially moved out of beta testing. The service, which is designed to work alongside the music store, lets people store up to 20,000 songs in the cloud and automatically sync them across multiple devices. To promote the launch, Google Music is offering exclusive music from the likes of The Rolling Stones, Coldplay, Shakira, Busta Rhymes and Pearl Jam. Google Music is currently only available in the US due to rights restrictions, with no indication of when it may appear elsewhere.

Google's decision to expand its music service will once again put the company head-to-head with its biggest mobile rival. Apple pioneered the concept of selling digital music to a mass market with the launch of iTunes in 2001, and the company has subsequently made iTunes integration a key selling point for its iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Tom Glass, creative director at theEword, commented: "Google is clearly trying to position Android as a credible alternative to Apple for music lovers. However, iTunes already has a huge head start in terms of brand recognition, user base and - most importantly of all - global record deals, so Google needs to keep providing incentives like exclusive tracks to make music fans switch."

For more information about Google Music, check out this video: